Student Voice

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Editorial

Small-town stereotype broken by crime spree

November 17, 2006

The sexual battery that took place on campus last week was tragic, but we hope the incident sparked an initiative to open the eyes of the campus community.

Vandals have taken aim at about 20 vehicles in campus lots this year, provoking Public Safety to issue warnings geared toward increased awareness. Add to that last week’s attack, a fight involving weapons in September, and recent thefts from a dorm room and classroom, it has become apparent that safety on cam- pus should not be carelessly disregarded.

While many of us enjoy the small-town stereotypes that come along with a UW-River Falls education, don’t blindly approach safety in the same way. Crime is not limited to big cities, and the individuals who congregate here are no different from your neighbors in the Twin Cities, Milwaukee, Viroqua or Chetek.
According to the 2006-2007 Annual Crime Report, three on-campus burglaries and three residence hall burglaries were reported to Public Safety in 2005.

In this case, a burglary is defined as, “The unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or a theft ... unlawful entry with intent to commit a larceny or felony; breaking and entering with intent to commit a larceny; housebreaking; safecracking; and all attempts to commit any of the aforementioned.”

While Interim Director of Public Safety Mark Kimball said he is not sure if the recent on-campus thefts fall into this category, the crimes, by definition, fit the bill.

Kimball said the inclusion of thefts in the Annual Crime Report varies depending on the severity of the incident, leaving the actual numbers unpublished.

Yet the Student Voice reported last December on four thefts in Johnson Hall, and a string of vehicle break-ins in the Ramer Field parking lot, all occurring in November 2005.

The apparent trend did not continue into the spring semester, and our hope is that history will this time choose to repeat itself.

Why has crime been so prevalent at UWRF this semester? We can only guess.

More bodies on campus make for more opportunities for unlawful behavior, yet we cannot safely assume.
While we are unable to control the minds of the individuals who have chosen to tarnish the reputation of our University, we can take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves from their harm.

So lock the doors to your vehicles and dorm rooms, and don’t walk the campus and city streets solo. Utilize the option of Public Safety escorts for the nights you find yourselves alone. After all, it is their job to keep you out of harm’s way.

Victims don’t make a conscious decision to be violated, but criminals do choose their actions. Don’t allow them that choice.

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