As the calendar year of 2005 nears its usual frosty end, many students prepare to leave the confines of Northern Kentucky University for the holidays. While these students may be safe and warm in their beds on Christmas Eve with visions of sugarplums dancing through their heads, were they safe at NKU?
“I think it has a lot to do with location,” said Chief Harold Todd, director of Public Safety for the university. “We’re not located in the city, so there aren’t people just passing through campus to get from point A to point B. If there’s no reason for people to come on campus, then people don’t come on campus.”
In a comparison between the 2005 calendar year and the last, comprised of the spring and fall 2004 semesters, NKU seems, overall to have stayed near the same numbers that it posted for crimes in 2004. One of the biggest and most frequent of those crimes is theft. “I haven’t seen much difference between 2004 and 2005,” Todd said.
With theft as big as it is, textbooks are among the most stolen. The thieves are stealing these books from students and taking them across the river, or to other schools in the state to sell them to get money. Some have been recovered because the students put identifying marks in the books which they were able describe to authorities. This allows them to recognize the books when they turn up or someone tried to sell them back.
On top of textbooks and other things being stolen, there has also been several people who have had their NKU parking permits stolen from their cars, either on or off campus. According to Todd, 20 or more arrests have been made this year for stolen property, many of those being people who possessed stolen permits.
Another problem that is still big on the campus is alcohol possession. In 2004, more than 100 incidents occurred in the dorms with students having alcohol in their possession. Many of those were students who were of age, which made them internal situations with Residential Housing. Officers only dealt with those students who were underage, in terms of handing out citations, or if necessary, making arrests.
This year saw a 25% decrease in traffic citations handed out, which Todd attributes to officer shortages and just not being able to have someone out watching the roads all the time.
Todd urged that students do their part as well. “People have to take responsibility for their own crime prevention,” he said, referring to students not leaving valuable possessions out in the open or in areas where people could easily steal them. He urged that everyone keep their valuables secure and with them, which would help to prevent a lot of thefts.