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Campus crimes frustrate students

September 30, 2011

The recent vandalism occurring at Monmouth College has caused many students to worry. Knife threats, trashed rooms, car break-ins and the vandalism at Haldeman-Theissen have been ongoing since Family Weekend. School officials report that the vandalism this year is no different than years past, but did not provide statistics to support that claim.

Already, students living in the fraternity complex have banded together to organize a potential fraternity watch. Phi Delta Theta house manager John Wuich along with Sigma Phi Epsilon house manager Pete Lipinski have considered starting a watch over the complex’s parking lot. Even though their plan is still just an idea, Heather Jacobs, Head of Security, is eager to get any additional assistance from them.

“We can always use the extra help,” said Jacobs. “But the vandalism is mostly in perimeter lots, and compared to last year it really isn’t that bad.”

Jacobs argues that compared to previous years, the vandalism happening now is not as great. She believes the vandalism is caused by residents of the town of Monmouth rather than Monmouth College students. However, security currently has no leads for any incident report that has been filed recently.

Colleen Sinclair filed an incident report with security right after she noticed the side mirror on her car was damaged. Sinclair is still waiting for security and the school to do follow-up with her car.

Another student, junior Brandon Kemerling, received a call from security because his car had been broken into at Euclid lot.

“Security called me in the morning saying they saw my window down, so I went out to check,” said Kemerling. “All of the money had been taken out of my car and just had a bunch of papers scattered around. I filed a police report with the Monmouth police, but I doubt anything will ever come of it. The school needs to look into putting cameras out there or something if they can’t monitor it all.”

To deal with the car vandalism, security has decided to increase patrol rounds at night as well as have the police do extra rounds. Jacobs admitted that besides doing more rounds, there is nothing more security has the power to do on campus.

“To find out who the criminal is, we hear through talk and eye-witnesses,” said Jacobs. “The students just need to come forward.”

With limited power, and only 8 security guards, students like Kemerling believe security cameras should be installed on campus in order to help security catch the criminals behind the vandalism. Administration, including Dean Masood, disagrees with students like Kemerling.

“I would not like put [security cameras] in the halls and parking lots,” said Masood. “The college is not in the business of spying on students. There are lots of privacy issues, legal issues and cost issues.”

However, some cases of vandalism may need a security camera in order for a perpetrator to be caught. According to Kathy Mainz in the biology department, no further progress has been made in deciding who is behind the HT vandalism. The school did file a report with the local police.

Another security incident occurred during Family Weekend. According to Whitney Wehrle, on Saturday, Sept. 17, several drunken students residing in North Hall were in possession of a cat. When the cat escaped, the students starting slamming Wehrle’s door screaming vulgar names, blaming her for taking the cat and telling her they would stab whoever left her room first.

The next morning Wehrle filed an incident report form with security and spoke with Masood. Besides being verbally harassed, Wehrle stated that her roommate noticed the room might have been broken into. Even though there were no signs of a forced entry, objects were taken off the wall and bags were opened with their contents on the floor.

“We always lock our door,” said Wehrle. “This was scary. Something needs to be done.”

Wehrle plans on presenting a proposal to the college on security cameras. After doing the research with assistance from her father, she estimated cameras would only be a few thousand dollars to install. She also found that other liberal arts colleges do not typically have security cameras. 

“It is security’s job to follow up on cases like mine,” said Wehlre. “But security needs more support from the school.”

Masood has many concerns with the idea of cameras on campus.

“We would have to review every tape,” said Masood. “There are liability issues. It’s expensive. I’m not opposed to putting [cameras] anywhere. I just know there are many issues involved. Monmouth College students, from my experience, are not involved in those types of crimes anyway.”

Wehrle, Kemerling and Sinclair, among many other students, are still waiting for security and the police to find out who is behind the crimes. To deal with the sudden rash in vandalism, security is patrolling parking lots and HT during the night.

Stevie Croisant
Copy/Layout Editor

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