Spring crime rates similar to last semester

Jackson French

Though the semester is still not over, crime rates on campus seem to have changed very little from the rates seen in fall 2013.

Captain Dominic Ossello of the WKU Police Department said the crime rate does not seem to have changed substantially since last semester and that the most pervasive crime he’s seen this semester has been theft. 

“The main thing that we’ve been trying to curb is residential theft,” he said. “Thefts from dorm rooms, students leaving their doors unlocked and someone coming in and taking from their room when they’re not there.” 

He said during MASTER Plan, WKUPD teaches students how to prevent residential thefts. 

“I know that’s one of the easiest and most avoidable crimes so that’s where I focus,” Ossello said.

Despite its prevalence, reports of theft are down from last semester.

So far there have been 32 reports of theft and burglary this semester, five fewer cases than in fall 2013.  

Arrests for public intoxication have been on the decline. While last semester, there were 22 arrests for alcohol intoxication in a public place, this semester there have been 16. 

“What I’d really attribute that to is… you’re going to have a whole lot more sporting events, you’re going to have a lot more opportunities for students to become over-intoxicated while on campus,” he said.

Ossello also said that during the cold winter months, students are less likely to wander around outside while under the influence. 

“I’d say if you went back another year and looked at last year’s stats for both semesters, you would see that trend over and over again,” he said.

There have been markedly fewer assaults this semester, which Ossello said can also partly be attributed to the colder weather.

Since last semester, drug arrests have gone up while drug citations have gone down.

Ossello explained that multiple factors go into determining whether someone caught with drugs will face an arrest or a citation.

“If it’s a possession of marijuana and it’s under a certain amount, then it’s more of a citation. If you’re looking at something where they’ve got multiple charges, multiple different infractions and a larger amount of drugs, then you’re going to have an arrest. It’s really up to the officer’s discretion.”

He said WKUPD will generally try to keep students out of the jail system if it is a first offense and the student is caught with a small amount of drugs.

There were four arrests and eight citations for drug-related crimes last semester while this semester has seen eight arrests and five citations.

Both arrest totals include one arrest for drug trafficking. 

Warrant arrests rose dramatically this semester, more than doubling since fall 2013. Last semester there were seven warrant arrests but spring 2014 has seen 16 such arrests so far.   

Ossello said there has been a rise in warrant arrests since the introduction of KYops, the computer system WKUPD uses.  

“You might have seen a little bit of an uptick (in warrant arrests) in the last, let’s say three years,” he said. 

“Before that it was all hand copies so you had to contact the agency,” Ossello said. “With it going to KYops, now its electronic and now all officers have warrant access from all the counties and all the states.”