Campus life still carries risks

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    By STEPHANIE HUANG

    BYU is pretty safe, but it is just like any other university. Students aren’t the only ones that think happy thoughts, believing BYU to be a haven. Criminals take a look and think happy hunting thoughts.

    Lt. Greg Barber of the University Police said, “We’re not that much different from other campuses. We don’t see a lot of the rapes and arrests. The university environment, in general, lends itself to ‘Happy Valley’ syndrome. We feel like we’re outside of the community. The truth is, the community, good and bad, infiltrates us.”

    The total criminal incidents in 1997 were 1,613. For 1996, 1995 and 1994, respectively, they were 2,282; 2,529; and 1,860 total crime incidents. Overall, the total amount has decreased, but Barber said this number varies depending on the people that come to the university.

    “Campus is in such a volatile community that the statistics depend on who comes,” Barber said. “One year, we may get a very rowdy graduating high school class, and the next may not be any trouble.”

    The statistics that do get reported for BYU only include incidents on campus. Assaults or robberies in off-campus dwellings aren’t included. Included are the spring and summer months where BYU is overflowed with camps. Also included in the numbers are medical assists, anything ranging from a splinter to a seizure.

    Kristine Hanson, a freshman from Cupertino, Calif., feels BYU is safer than other schools.

    “I would imagine it’s pretty safe,” Hanson said. “My friend is going to an eastern school, and they buy trunks so that they can lock them. They have laptops, and they put them in there to keep them from getting stolen. I didn’t want to deal with getting a trunk; I didn’t know what to put into it, and I figure it’s safer at BYU. I guess more people are raised to follow the ‘do not steal’ commandment.”

    “This is a rather safe area,” Barber said. “The LDS community has high standards and crime is low, however, one perpetrator can create a tremendous impact.”

    Some mistakes people make include, but are not limited to, having property out in the open, leaving dorms unlocked, allowing valuables to be unattended in the library or dance lab, going to class with the car unlocked and forgetting to lock a bike.

    “Secure your valuables; you’ve paid good money for them,” Barber said.

    The advice is simple: take care of yourself.

    Barber offers this advice as students meet new people, “I myself have five daughters. I make sure they know who they are going out with. Be familiar with individuals before you are alone with them. Listen to the Spirit, and live the way we’re supposed to. If you’re uncomfortable, leave. BYU is safe, but it’s not a bubble to protect us. The more we think of it as a bubble, the more we invite crime to happen. People say they should have the right to walk around alone and be safe; in a perfect world — yes. But this isn’t a perfect world. No one goes camping without repellent and sleeping bags. We need to carry our own aggressor repellent and tent of armor.”

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