Sirens ringing, red and blue lights flashing, and students running sets the scene for one of many nights on the Keene State College’s campus. Crime on campus ranges from getting caught drunk to physical assault, but according to conduct statistics, crime has slowed down from 1,107 students being documented in the fall semester of 2010 to only 627 in the spring semester of 2011.
According to many students, compared to other colleges KSC barely has any crime to talk about. Other colleges, however, have stories to tell.
“What crime? I’m sorry, I have friends that go to school in Temple and Philadelphia and they’re like, ‘A couple kids died this past weekend, yeah they got shot up,’” junior Carrie Hall said.
“I have a cousin at RIT, who’s like, ‘Oh yeah we had these two kids commit suicide this week,’” junior Danielle Clark said.
“The only major crime thing I can see around here is people stealing random bikes. That happens all the time,” senior Adam Shaw said.
Theft is just one of the many things against the student policy as well as underage drinking, both physical and sexual assault, drug possession, and many other obvious wrong discretions. According to Dispute Resolution Coordinator Mark Schmidl-Gagne, KSC students are fairly honest.
“RAs confront the situation and the students are really compliant, ‘Yeah, wow, we really messed up, yep here’s all the alcohol and stuff,’” Schmidl-Gagne said.
Students are not always honest and tend to try to weasel their way out of it and that is when campus security is called in. If things get too out of hand, Keene police can be called in to handle the situation themselves. When it deals with drugs, Keene police are always called.
When it comes to suspected drug use, more often than not a suspected marijuana use according to Schmidl-Gagne, the college does have a protocol that if residential staff believes that there is a drug situation taking place, they contact Campus Safety, Campus Safety checks and then contacts the Keene Police Department as well.
If something happens off campus, KSC will not get involved unless it is severe like assault, according to Schmidl-Gagne. There are differences between the law and the policy on campus. If it is a law it is a policy but not all policies are laws. For example, if a 21-year-old student lives on campus they can only have so much alcohol (two six-packs of beer or one quart of liquor or a half gallon of wine), but if that same student lived off campus they could have as much alcohol as they wanted.
Another difference is between being guilty in court versus responsible on campus. Schmidl-Gagne puts it as in court there needs to be 99.9 percent real proof of a violation while on campus there really only needs to be about 50 percent real proof. This proof includes real evidence such as bottles of alcohol, a previously used pipe, or a bag of marijuana. While on campus the sound of bottles moved around behind closed doors or the window open with a fan blowing out air from the room when its 20 degrees outside can be used as proof enough. There is a different standard of proof between Campus Safety and the Keene police.
According to Director of Campus Safety Amanda Warman there are three elements to crime: the victim, the aggressor or the criminal, and the opportunity. When teaching crime prevention, the idea is to remove the opportunity. When someone wants to make an offense, then they are looking for a place to make that offense and as a victim, s/he should avoid or remove the opportunity for the criminal to take action.
“Don’t go to a house party where there are 200 people you don’t know that are drunk. That is probably not a good situation. You know, lock your doors, don’t leave your iPod sitting in the gym, those types of things,” Warman said.
Warman also encourages people in the college community to protect each other and look out for each other. Try to do whatever it takes to remove the opportunity for something bad to happen.
While statistics show a decrease in students being documented for doing something against the policy, this does not mean that KSC is the safest place in the world. Students this semester have been assaulted, drunk, and doing drugs. Take this time to realize that KSC is safer than many colleges but still has the potential to be dangerous. As Warman has said, watch each other and remove the opportunity.
Kaitlyn Coogan can be contacted at email@example.com.