Crime rates fluctuate during break

City Editor and City Editor

Students returning to the city from winter break may find themselves a few belongings short.

Usually the rate of theft rises when students leave because their apartments are unattended for weeks, said Maj. Tony Hetrick, deputy chief and public information officer for the Bowling Green Police Division.

There were 20 reports of theft, burglary and robbery in December, 11 more than November, according to a summary report provided by Hetrick.

Other crimes, however, decreased while students were home for break.

“Less people in town means less activity,” Hetrick said. “A lot of different factors go into reductions.”

Factors like cold weather may have convinced more people to stay home or indoors instead of making the trek downtown or elsewhere, he said.

Liquor law violations are some of the crimes that lessen during breaks, Hetrick said.

Police made 42 liquor law arrests in December, which is down from 72 in November, according to the summary report.

While crimes may have fluctuated in the city, crime on campus dwindled.

For campus police, there is usually a decline in calls for service because the majority of the 6,500 students who live on campus leave, said Capt. Michael Campbell.

There is the possibility for a spike in crimes like theft, but campus police do not find out until the first few weeks of classes as students return and might discover some of their things are missing, he said.

During break Campbell said campus police have time to focus their energy on tasks they normally can’t when classes are in session.

“We have more foot patrol and are able to check buildings and have more visibility,” he said.

Even with most students out of town, most bar stools stayed full during break.

Banan Alkilani, general manager of Cla-Zel, said the bar was continually busy during break due to the fact that they hosted “Club KISS” on weekends and community members made up for the student attendance loss.

Because crowds remained the same, Alkilani said there is no surge or loss of fights and sneak-ins, which he said are at a minimum anyway.

Holidays also may have contributed to high bar attendance and crimes in the city.

Some crimes spike at big party days like St. Patrick’s Day, Hetrick said.

This past St. Patrick’s Day, there were 431 reported incidents to police and 55 arrests, according to a Mar. 21, 2012 online article in The BG News.

Generally, crime rises in the spring and stays steady through fall until decreasing in October in correlation with the weather, Hetrick said.