By: Joey Oliver, Vanguard Staff Writer
You don’t have to hide your kids or hide your wife any longer, as campus crime is on the decline.
“I feel very safe,” said Brittany Lagalo, an undecided sophomore. “I’ve never had anything happen to me to scare me.”
In fact, there has been a steady decrease in crime during the last four years.
According to the Saginaw Valley State Campus Police website, breaking and entering has been on the decline since 2008 when there were 25 reported cases. In 2009 there were 18 such cases, and last year the total was nine.
Larceny is also down. In 2008, there were 101 reported cases, 71 in 2009 and 99 last year.
These numbers are down in comparison to other universities such as Grand Valley State University. According to the Grand Valley State campus police website, there were 80 cases of larceny in 2007, 119 in 2008, and in 2009, there were 83.
One of the higher profile cases happened in April when three men were caught on security cameras breaking into rooms in living centers and stealing items. Soon after one man was caught and another was held at Oakland University because of a warrant before Saginaw Valley police picked him up.
This month, twelve crimes have been reported, ranging from assault to larceny.
“It feels pretty safe until you hear about those rare occurrences where someone breaks into a place or pulls a weapon,” said Nick Zuber, a criminal justice junior. “Those instances bring some doubt into your mind that make you wonder what you’d do if you found yourself in that situation.”
Campus police believe that a change in the way they handle calls may be one reason why the overall campus crime rate is going down.
“We find out if [the criminal(s)] are still there, and respond to the scene,” said Sgt. Marc Strain. “We answer the who, what, when and where questions. Then we look for prints and any evidence.”
Another possible cause for the drop in crime are the prevention classes. If you are walking alone at night, you can call the police station and get an escort to ensure your safety. There are alcohol awareness classes and a series of RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) classes.
“I wish there was better lighting at night,” Lagalo said. “When you’re walking alone at night, campus can seem really sketchy.”
Students should use the emergency call boxes located around campus if they see an unsafe situation developing. With a campus smaller than most other universities in Michigan, police are able to reach call boxes within minutes.
This reassures some students.
“Everywhere you go on campus you feel safe,” Zuber said. “You see police cars a lot, too, so it’s good to know they are there.”