What’s up with this Crime Spree?

Katherine Daniel ~ Editor-in-Chief

During the 2018-2019 academic school year at the University of Lynchburg, there have been several trespassing incidents, burglaries, and suspicious activities and people reports.

As an avid follower of the University’s Daily Crime Log, the crimes reported can at times be mind boggling.

Director of the Office of Campus Safety and Security, Bob Driskill, stated in a safety announcement email on Feb. 4, that, “With the Spring 2019 semester well underway, we wanted to take this opportunity to remind you of some important safety information. We occasionally receive reports of suspicious persons or uninvited individuals inside the residence halls and inside campus houses and apartments. Usually these individuals have gained access through unlocked house or room doors and propped open access doors in the residence halls. Additionally, individuals will sometimes ‘piggy back’ into a building by asking a student who has scanned into the building to hold the door.”

Driskill also reminded students in the email, “Please take care to always lock all exterior doors to your house and your residence hall room.  Please do not hold open the doors to the residence halls for anyone you do not recognize as a student who resides in the building. If you do have a guest in your building, University policy requires that you register and escort that guest at all times.”

 

However, while, that email was disturbing, a perusal of the crime log and the LiveSafe app reporting system showed the following alerts for the past few days.

On Thursday, Feb. 14, the University of Lynchburg campus was notified of several burglaries, larcenies, and a stolen vehicle that occurred on Vernon Street overnight.

According to the LiveSafe app report from the University of Lynchburg at 11:25 a.m. on Feb.14, “Campus Safety and Security and the Lynchburg Police have been notified of several burglaries, larcenies and a stolen vehicle that occurred on Vernon Street overnight. The investigation is ongoing. More information to follow.”

The suspects were later apprehended and an update sent out on the LiveSafe app.

Also on Feb. 14, at 2:07 P.M., the University of Lynchburg reported on the LiveSafe app, three University of Lynchburg students reported that they were victims of road rage at the intersection of Old Forest Road and Hill Street. The male driver was stated to have a been holding a “Glock” style pistol in his inside pocket of the tracksuit. The students in fear immediately apologized for any misunderstanding. The incident is currently under investigation by the Lynchburg Police Department.

If you aren’t paying attention to the statistics, from Aug. 20, 2018 to Feb. 24, 2019 the crime log, the University of Lynchburg online crime report system,  indicated that there have been 21 burglaries/larcenies, 11 suspicious activities or people, and nine trespassing events. In this school year alone, there have been two stolen vehicles.

These incidents aren’t isolated to the campus, during that same time frame there have also been several robberies, theft, motor vehicles thefts, and aggravated assaults in the Lynchburg city area.

According to the community crime map reports by the City of Lynchburg government in the area near the University of Lynchburg, there have been 28 thefts, one robbery, four motor vehicle thefts, five aggravated assaults, and 12 motor vehicle thefts.

According to areavibes.com, “ The the overall crime rate in Lynchburg, Va is 34% higher than the Virginia average and is 2% lower than the national average. Looking at violent crime specifically, Lynchburg, Va. has a violent crime rate that is 70% higher than the Virginia average and 7% lower than the national average. For property crime, Lynchburg, VA is 30% higher than the Virginia average and 1% lower than the national average.”

From 2016-2017, according to areavibes.com, “Crimes in total for Lynchburg, Va. have increased by 8% year over year.”

While I personally feel safe on campus and I know that Campo is working diligently, these statistics are quite alarming.  I love the fact that we have an open campus and that the community is always welcomed to enjoy its beauty, but is our openness becoming a liability?

The major question becomes, how do we as a university, tackle the number of “suspicious people” and “suspicious activities”  happening on campus.

The  University of Lynchburg Office of Safety and Security  offers some personal safety tips. These include walking with a friend, calling Campus Safety and Security (434.544.8100) for an escort, knowing the people you visit, whether on or off campus, closing and locking ground floor windows when you are not in your campus residence or office.

Students who bring a vehicle to campus should keep their windows rolled up and doors locked at all times. If you valuables in your car, then you should lock them in the trunk where they can not been seen by others.

Most importantly, students should pay attention to their surroundings and be accountable for their fellow Hornets.

Stay Safe Out There!