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Campus crime put into perspective

March 23, 2012

Junior Cammy Nelson got her laptop stolen late last semester from the cubbies outside the University Center commons.

Nelson’s stolen laptop contributes to the 62 property damages and thefts reported for the 2011 year, according to the UW-River Falls police reports.

So far for the 2012 year, there have been approximately 16 thefts and property damages reported to the University Police. Chief of Police Dick Trende, whom has been working in law enforcement for over 40 years said that compared to other UW campuses, UW-River Falls numbers of crime reports are on the lower end.

“When you look at our campus we actually are at a lower rate for alcohol issues and crime compared to other campuses,” Trende said.

There have been about 16 crimes reported this year, including thefts and property damage. There are a lot of unique reports this school year described as: threatening messages, harassing text messages and unwanted touching/grabbing.

In 2011 there were 25 drug related reports and, so far reported in the 2012 year, there have been three drug related reports. Trende said he is concerned about drug use on campus, and that there have been more complaints about marijuana use.

“What I am concerned about are when people use intense drugs. Hallucinogens have been a problem in the past, as well as meth. Any illegal drug is illegal for a reason,” Trende said.

There have been fewer alcohol risks reported than usual Trende said. Three underage consumption reports have been accounted for in 2012. There were 40 underage consumption reports for 2011 while 138 liquor law violations were reported in 2010.

There is no explanation for the lower amount of liquor violations this year. Trende said that drinking may be the same, but it may also be that students are just not getting caught.

“We have a zero tolerance with underage drinking,” Trende said.

Maryn Feyereisen, a resident assistant in Hathorn Hall, said she thinks that students come into college with a preconceived notion that it’s going to be all fun and games. Now that the first semester is past, the low number of crimes could result with the fading of the partying. The enforcement of underage consumption helps prevent the mixture with driving, Trende said. According to Residence Life, more strict policies were recently implemented for on-campus living in 2009.

“We have a good community with student housing and Residence Life with an intervention team,” Trende said.

The community shares information and an agreed approach is made to handle crimes and underage drinking. Resident assistants handle the situation first, and contact the University Police Department if they need assistance, Trende said.