Crime Time

Annual crime report shows increase in campus crime.

Beret Leon | Freelance

It’s 12 p.m. and the Monson Dining Center is at its lunchtime peak. Students are piling to get in line as Sodexo worker Geetha smiles, swipes and happily exclaims “enjoy your lunch!” Before stepping in line students plop their backpacks, with all sorts of valuables in stow, in piles against the wall leading to the DC. It seems second nature to students. Bethel isn’t known to have a large crime record, right?”

Last week, Bethel’s Security and Safety Department released the 2014 crime report and included in the report are past reports dating back to 2012. There were three sexual offense reports in 2014 compared to just one in 2012, and 28 in liquor law violations compared to nine in 2012.

Along with the recent release of the crime report, Joel Fredrickson, psychology professor and chair of the department compiled two reports specifically related to sexual assault and alcohol consumption. Fredrickson surveyed roughly 1,000 Bethel students and the results were strikingly different than the crime report released by Bethel’s Security and Safety team.

Eight students responded saying someone affiliated with Bethel had sexual contact with them by using physical force or threatening to physically harm since the beginning of the fall semester 2014, while 26.4 percent of students reported having consumed alcohol on campus.

Andrew Luchsinger, the Chief of Bethel’s Security and Safety department, works on emergency management and acts as liaison with the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office .

“One thing to note about the security report is that it’s defined geographically…it’s not necessarily contained to campus,” Luchsinger said. “So someone is sexually assaulted off our campus at a non sponsored event, like a personal residence or another location; those numbers are not going to show up in my crime report.”

Overall, Luchsinger believes that Security and Safety does an adequate job providing campus with a service of keeping Bethel students and staff safe. Luchsinger believes a plausible explanation to the increase is unreported crimes that are being reported later on.

“I don’t assume that there’s been an increase in sexual assault,” Luchsinger said. “I assume there’s been an increase in people reporting it and getting help.” Luchsinger added that he’s unsure of the reason for the increase in alcohol consumption numbers and didn’t want to speculate.

According to the report, larceny remains as Bethel’s most common crime, despite watch sergeants being deployed in target areas such as the Monson Dining Center and 3900 Grill. Security and Safety urges students to be mindful with their valuables and to try not to leave bags unattended whenever possible.

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