Campus crime stays on par with previous years
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 21, 2012 00:09
With a population of slightly over 20,000, chances are high that students have labeled Oxford as a small town once or twice. However, the small town charm may pose a problem when students living off-campus occasionally forget about locking their front doors.
During the 2011-2012 academic year, there were a total of 173 theft offenses reported to the Miami University Police Department (MUPD). Thirteen campus crime alerts were issued for burglaries and in 12 of those cases, the door was unlocked.
Junior Jessica Watson said she sometimes leaves her door unlocked.
“I feel very safe here, so I do sometimes leave the door unlocked without even giving it a second thought,” Watson said.
Claire Wagner, associate director of University Communications, said this has become a common occurrence.
“Police find crimes of convenience frequently; it happens a lot,” Wagner said.
Wagner said students often easily forget to lock their doors or have miscommunication with housemates.
“It needs to be a conscious decision for students to lock their first floor doors and windows,” said Wagner.
Although this problem continues this year, several other instances of crime on and off-campus have occurred so far this semester.
As the fifth week of the semester ends, Chief of Miami University Police Department John McCandless said the amount and nature of campus crimes are fairly normal in comparison to past years.
As of Sept. 10, 2012, a total of 65 arrests were made compared to a total of 70 arrests at this time in 2011, according to McCandless.
The most common arrests are liquor law, disorderly conduct and drug law arrests.
“The arrest numbers are pretty flat,” said McCandless, adding that they are comparable to last year and have improved in some categories.
A total of 36 incidents have been reported compared to 48 in 2011, including things like thefts, burglaries, sexual assault and property damage.
“The new door locks in many areas help, we didn’t have those last year,” McCandless said.
In order to make students, faculty and staff aware of any arrests and incidents that could be a matter of public safety, MUPD and Wagner work together to spread the word via mymiami, email, text message alerts and e-reports.
According to Wagner, federal law requires universities to provide timely warning for certain crimes occurring on campus property or property on adjoining streets. This includes crime alerts for on campus crimes and information bulletins for off-campus crimes. Crime alerts deal with crimes such as murder, sexual assault, robbery, burglary, arson and aggravated assault, Wagner said.
Three information bulletins and two crime alerts have been sent out so far this year.
“It’s something we can use to remind students about being safe,” Wagner said.
In addition, MUPD and the Oxford Police Department (OPD) renewed their mutual aid agreement in July, updating several sections in order to work together more, Wagner said.
The two departments now have concurrent law enforcement authority over the entire rights of way of area bordered by Chestnut Street, Locust Street, Sycamore Street and Patterson Avenue; as well as state Route 73 from Patterson Avenue to the city of Oxford limits; Bonham Road from Sycamore Street and Talawanda Street to the Miami University property limit; and streets north of Sycamore Street and east of state Route 732.
Wagner said Miami encourages students to be safe and work together.
“We want everybody to not only look out for themselves, but look out for others when it comes to dangerous situations,” Wagner said.