By Elaine Joy Carlin
On September 8, only a few days before classes commenced, K’s Office of Security sent out an email alert. Two K students had been confronted by three unidentified people on Academy St. “who demanded their possessions,” the email stated. Before police and security officers could arrive on the scene, the suspects took one student’s wallet and ran.
Many Hornets feel safe in the “K bubble,” but alerts like this one can make students think twice.
Security Director Tim Young said he has noticed that thefts tend to happen at the beginning of the year when people in Kalamazoo who are “up to no good” know that students are back on campus. Young urges students to remain aware of the frequency of theft.
“Most thefts are avoidable. If everyone would safeguard their property, I would have a short list of incidents — if people would pay attention,” said Young.
Traveling in groups when heading off campus, using on-campus escorts and not “putting yourself out there” are all ways to stay safer, said Young.
In the past thefts have been less common than burglary. However, according to the Kalamazoo College Annual Security Report for 2011, burglary — entering a building with the intent to commit a crime — is now the most reported crime on campus. A total of 29 burglaries were reported in the past three years.
The college is setting up precautions to minimize these occurrences, including: emergency intercoms located around campus; the first floor window locks, which provide a low risk option for leaving a window ajar while still locked; and extra outdoor security cameras.
“If there are safety concerns, let us know. We can’t address them if we don’t know,” said Brien Dietz, director of student involvement at K.
Dietz knows students are the ones spending the most time on campus and that they will notice a safety problem sooner than the staff or faculty will.
“For example, the parking lot behind Trowbridge and DeWaters — we added extra lighting”, said Dietz.
The lighting was added near the dumpsters after he heard student concerns about that location.
It is a fact worth noting that reporting concerns and incidences can help make campus safer. Campus security will always take calls, but Young said when in immediate danger, always call 911 first.
“It takes a community to be safe. If you see something or know something, call right away,” he added.