converging crime wave?

Seeming increase in on-campus crimes have some students anxious about safety

Vincent Moore / news editor

Vincent Moore

News Editor

A brawl on Butler Court, a theft from a car parked in the Winchester lot, and an off-campus home getting broken into just a street away from campus are only some of the crimes that have affected students this past semester at Keene State College. Some are beginning to worry about the apparent crime wave converging on campus, but Director of Campus Safety and Compliance Jeff Maher said that this semester’s crime rates aren’t anything out of the ordinary.

“I would say that by and large Keene State is a very safe campus. Some of the studies that have been done would suggest that Keene State is in fact the safest campus in New Hampshire. That said, we still do have crimes that occur here, like any community our size. We’re fortunate in the sense that very few of those crimes are violent or cause physical harm to somebody,” Maher said.

The Campus Safety media log reported that between the dates of Sept. 6 and Nov. 30, Campus Safety has responded to 16 instances of theft, five instances of sexual assault, and five instances of other violent crimes like simple assault and brawling.

Maher said that Campus Safety responds to crimes like theft more frequently than violent crimes, but even thefts don’t occur with any regularity.

“Several of our students choose to leave their cars unlocked, and for the most part they can do so. However, from time to time they might than that their car has been rummaged through,” Maher said.

Thefts this semester haven’t just been regulated to cars, as junior and  communication and safety major Taylor Lindquist and her roommates returned from fall break to find their off-campus home burglarized.

Lindquist said she was away when she received a phone call from her roommate notifying her of the break-in. She learned that the back door had been broken down and that many of their rooms and drawers had been searched through but no large items were stolen.

“I got home the next day from Cape Cod and went through my room, and that’s when I noticed that my jewelry box was open and I had been missing a diamond necklace, but everything else in my room was still there,” Lindquist said.

Other items stolen were tax return papers, jerseys, spare change, and prescription medication, according to Lindquist.

“It almost makes us think that it’s somebody we know or somebody we’ve had in the house before, because they seem to know the layout and whose room was [whose], identifying what they specifically took from our rooms,” Lindquist said.

Since the burglary, Lindquist said that her and her roommates received new house keys and now make sure that all doors and windows are locked.

Lindquist said that the street was made up of mostly college students and that as far as she knew this incident was the only one of the semester, “We’ve always felt pretty safe on our street.”

On Nov. 1, the Keene Sentinel reported that two KSC students were hospitalized after a fight with an unknown assailant on Butler Court.

“Campus Safety is aware of an assault that was reported that actually may have stemmed from an off-campus incident and then later resulted in an on-campus incident. What I can share about that is that it’s actively being investigated by the Keene Police Department and they are happy to receive any information that our students may have about that,” Maher said.

Maher said that students can share information online through an anonymous tip service on the Campus Safety webpage.

“Those incidents occur infrequently or rarely, and when they do the college and our law enforcement partners at Keene Police Department take them very seriously,” Maher said.

KSC Senior Fletcher Rice allegedly had his car stolen from the Winchester Lot but did not respond in time.

Vincent Moore can be contacted at vmoore@kscequinox.com