Move-in sees rise in crime, violations of the law

City Editor and City Editor

As students begin to move in and the population of the city increases, so does crime, specifically things such as theft and liquor law violations, said Major Tony Hetrick of the City of Bowling Green Police.

“You have more people, you have more problems,” said Major Tony Hetrick of the City of Bowling Green Police.

Many of the thefts that happen on campus are crime of opportunity, said Lt. Bradley Biller of the City of Bowling Green Police.

“If you leave your stuff unlocked, somebody’s going to snatch it because it’s there,” he said.

He suggests not to “flash” valuables or leave them unattended.

Theft has decreased since 2013, according to a City of Bowling Green Police report. For example, there were 68 theft reportings during June 2013 compared to 54 during June 2014.

Liquor law violations also have become a problem with the surge of people, Hetrick said.

To keep safe, students should travel in groups and make sure they have a designated driver or call a cab, Captain of the Campus Police Michael Campbell said. “Even if you’re 21 or over, it’s about trying to practice responsible drinking,” he said.

Unlike thefts, liquor law violations have trended towards an increase since last year. There were 57 reportings for liquor law violations in March 2013 and 100 in March 2014.

While alcohol has traditionally been a problem, drug offenses have gone “up quite a bit,” Hetrick said.

In May 2013 there were 13 drug abuse reportings and 31 in May 2014.

Both marijuana and heroin use have risen, he said, with marijuana making up the majority of drug arrests.

Hetrick attributes this to changes in drug laws around the country, which makes access to the drug easier for those in states in which it is illegal.

“As states like Colorado and Washington have kind of backed off of strict enforcement … those attitudes are kind of pervasive across the 50 states,” he said. “When Michigan went with medical marijuana, we started seeing that getting trafficked into Ohio.”

He said some who grow the plant for medicinal uses are only allowed to have a certain number of plants, but sometimes have a surplus that can get trafficked to Ohio.

Over the summer, the city saw an unusual spike in armed robberies, Hetrick said.

Three took place this summer at the Wood County Hospital pharmacy and the Huntington Bank and Tan Pro on North Main Street.

The suspects from the pharmacy and Tan Pro robberies were apprehended, but the bank robbery suspect escaped. Hetrick said the man suspected of the robbery matches the description of a suspect for a number of other armed robberies in the area.

However, Hetrick said the city will most likely not see him again any time soon, because the suspect will move on.

“Often times we get them one time and they move on to another place,” he said.

Students who want tips on how to stay safe can go to safety classes hosted by the campus police, Campbell said, which include everything from tips on how to keep items secure to sexual assault awareness and active shooter training.

While crime can be a problem in the city, Campbell is focused on making the community as safe as possible.

“I would hate to say [crime] will be just like last year because our goal is not to be just like last year. We’d like to improve,” he said.

Editor’s note: A correction was made concerning the numbers for specific crimes between 2013 and 2014, which were changed from “arrests” to “reported” crimes.