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Crime may increase as students return

Crime is expected to increase as students flock back to campus, and there is the potential for thieves and more work for law enforcement.

Each fall, police see a rise in liquor law violations, disorderly conduct and theft, said Maj. Tony Hetrick, deputy chief of the Bowling Green Police Division.

From July 2012 to August 2012, liquor law violations, including underage/under the influence and open container, rose from 54 to 192, according to police records. Disorderly conduct increased from 296 in July 2012 to 436 in August 2012 while thefts increased from 65 in September to 85 in August.

“Alcohol is the driving force of all of these,” Hetrick said. “The 18 to 25-year-old age range likes to go downtown, likes to drink and not all are legal so these incidents go up. It’s just the culture.”

While students may be causing more crimes, they can also be the victims.

During the course of the summer, senior Jordan Marino and her roommates’ items were vandalized and stolen.

Within the first few weeks of living at the corner of Pike and North Prospect streets, vandals stole a bike and an American flag, broke into Marino’s car, ripped the screen of a window and cracked her roommate’s windshield.

“I was angry because I don’t see why people need to mess with our house,” Marino said of the first few incidents.

After her roommate’s window was cracked Marino “got freaked out and kept the windows open at night to see or hear if any people were messing with us,” she said.

When the school year begins, Marino has no doubt that crimes like these will increase.

And police are less likely to give students warnings for offenses during opening weekend.

“They think just because they are away from home they can do whatever they want, but we will enforce the law,” Hetrick said.

Areas near downtown aren’t the only ones to experience increases in these incidents. Marino experienced this last year while living on East Reed Street.

“There was always broken glass and you always hear people screaming outside your windows,” she said. “Wherever you are going to live, you are going to see something happen.”

That may include the campus.

Campus police see the offenses increase just as city police do, said Captain Mike Campbell of the Department of Public Safety.

“We see this uptick because we’re incorporating 18,000 students into the city, 7,000 being on campus,” Campbell said.

Thefts rise when students come back because it’s what Campbell calls a “crime of opportunity.”

If a student is moving in and walks away from belongings to move more stuff in, it’s easier for someone to go into the open house or dorm room to snatch it, he said.

Both grad student Vince Dettorre and alumnus Case Groenewegen remember a string of laptop thefts in Kreischer Hall their freshman year.

Students had their laptops stolen because of the open door policy the hall had and the trust students had, Groenewegen said.

When the fall semester starts, Groenewegen said theft could go up again.

“People like to steal,” he said. “Just lock your doors and be mindful.”

Proactive measures such as locking doors to cars, apartments and residence hall rooms are tips both the campus and city police advise people take.

Marino is taking more precautions. She installed light sensors around the house and alarms in the window, which sound if the window is opened too far.

“We’re just waiting for the next thing to happen,” Marino said.


Reports of Theft: 7

Liquor Law Violations: 77

Disorderly Conduct: 18

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