Marquette Wire

School breaks show decrease in campus crime

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While students are away, crime decreases on and around campus. Captain Russell Shaw of Marquette’s Department of Public Safety said there are 15 to 25 incident reports on an average week. Last week, while students were on spring break, there were only four.

During spring break, a majority of the crimes around campus were criminal trespassing attempts into Marquette-owned facilities. Despite this being the most common crime during breaks, there were only three incidents last week.

“Just this last weekend generated four incident reports, and that was even with students coming back and St. Patrick’s Day that Sunday night,” Shaw said. “It is a drastic decrease.”

Shaw thinks that crime decreases due to the fact that students are not on campus.

While criminal trespassing is popular during winter and spring breaks, Shaw said the most popular crimes are dependent on weather. For example, Shaw said that as the temperature decreases, automobile thefts also decrease.

Shaw said DPS needs to be most vigilant during academic breaks when the few students on campus are more visible.

“We always remind our officers they have to still be at a heightened alert,” Shaw said. “In some cases I tell them to be more mindful and careful of what they are looking for out there. To me, when there are fewer students in the area, that’s when I become more concerned, and I want them to still call for a LIMO ride or even to have DPS give them a ride at night because you have fewer people out on the street. Sometimes they stand out more when there is no one else on the street,” Shaw said.

Rebecca Bishay, a sophomore in the College of Communication, said DPS lets her to feel at ease when she leaves campus.

“DPS really makes me feel safe especially when I am not on campus,” Bishay said. “Since they patrol all year round, it makes the me feel comfortable being on a campus that is constantly secured.”

DPS has a Vacant House Watch to ensure the safety during these breaks, which has officers repeatedly drive by the homes of students who request watching. 

“Obviously there are no guarantees that nothing can ever happen, but it certainly helps us to know when someone is home or not home,” Shaw said. “If we know someone has left their home and they tell us, and we see movement, obviously we are going to check the house. So that does help us.”

If an officer sees a window smashed or anything leading to suspicion of forced entry, DPS will call Milwaukee Police Department before a house check is conducted.

Shaw recommended students with homes on campus sign up for Vacant House Watch over breaks so DPS can keep an eye out for suspicious activity. He also said it is vital to use campus resources when they are most needed.

“There is never a stupid call that comes to DPS,” Shaw said.

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