Criminals don’t take Fall Break

By Michael McFall, Staff Writer

Students hightailed it off campus last week, leaving nothing but midterms and yellow leaves in their wake. But criminals didn’t take a Fall Break off from mischief.

During the break from Oct. 10 to Oct. 18, there were 29 reported offenses on campus8212;about the same number of crimes that usually occur on campus, with or without its studious occupants. The week before Fall Break there were only 21 offenses, when the campus’ thousands of potential eyewitnesses were still around. Two weeks before the break also had 29 crimes, and there were 24
crimes three weeks before that, according
to U public safety records.

“It stays just as busy here during the break,” U Police Capt. Lynn Mitchell said. Students have an impression that the campus quiets down, but crime remains as rampant as ever, he said.

Charles McGarvey, a junior business major, stuck it out during Fall Break instead of leaving. He said he wasn’t the least bit surprised to hear that crime continued as strong as ever during the vacation, even though he thought it might be quieter.

About one-third of the reported offenses were theft, comprising the majority of the vacation’s crime. While every other crime occurred in equally small amounts, everything from three bicycles to a missing backpack, from all over campus.

One student victim who remained on campus left his laptop in the Health Science Education Building on Oct. 15. When he returned from the restroom two minutes later, he saw his laptop’s power cord still plugged into the wall, but no laptop on the other end. After searching the building, he reported seeing two males in their 20s “nervously” walking away from HSEB, and told campus police it was suspicious.

However, the Fall Break criminals steered relatively clear of the corner of campus where the students still remained. Only three crimes were reported in the student housing areas during the break. One theft and two domestic disturbances came out of the student apartments in East and West Village.

Last year’s Fall Break had 27 reported offenses. Theft comprised the majority of crimes during that year’s Fall Break as well. Criminal mischief, such as suspicious beer cans, came in second as about one-fifth of the crimes reported. It was the first year that the U allowed students a week off in the middle of the semester. Before 2007, Fall Break was only two days long.

More than 75 percent of the criminals on campus are not associated with the school, Mitchell said. A break means nothing to someone who isn’t a student or faculty member. If anything, it’s better for them, he said. Those criminals take advantage of a good situation for them, such as a deserted campus with almost no bystanders to deter or report them. Campus police still patrol the area, but wouldn’t mind it if criminals would make like the students leave.

“We’re all staying busy here,” said Chief of Police Scott Folsom.

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