Last week’s arrest following an assault in an on-campus apartment and a string of groping reports have BYU buzzing and Utah media talking about campus crime.
But BYU still has a fraction of criminal activity compared to other college campuses, something BYU Police Lt. Arnold Lemmon attributes to BYU’s prohibition on alcohol and drug use.
“The predominant crime on campus is theft,” Lemmon said. Thieves know campuses have an ample supply of bikes and backpacks filled with laptops, cell phones and other electronics. “What we’re experiencing now is very rare,” he said of the string of groping reports still under investigation.
Lemmon compiles campus crime information for an annual report required by the federal Clery Act, which requires colleges and universities to disclose information about certain categories of crime on and around their campuses.
“At Utah State there’s not a lot of crime that goes on,” said Tavin Stucki, the editor-in-chief of USU’s student newspaper, The Utah Statesman. Stucki said the university’s police blotter is mostly humorous because there is not a lot of serious crime occurring at USU.
In contrast, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, sees a lot more crime.
According to Alexia Shurmur, editor-in-chief of UNLV’s “The Rebel Yell,” university police are trying to catch a thief who steals bikes and bike parts. In an attempt to catch the culprit the police are using a bait bike, which they monitor in hopes of catching the thief in the act.
Shurmur said the location of UNLV’s campus and the fact that it is an open campus that anyone can walk onto contributes to the crime rate of the campus. “UNLV is in kind of a sketchy area,” Shurmur said. “It’s not somewhere you want to hang out at night.”
Motor vehicle thefts are also a major issue at UNLV. From 2010 to 2012 UNLV had an average of 24 vehicle thefts per year. Shurmur said UNLV is a commuter campus, so there are many cars at campus at a time. She also said it’s common for vehicle thefts to occur in the parking lots that don’t have security cameras.
The crime that received the most attention in the last school year, however, was a sexual assault that occurred in the dorms. She said the incident received a lot of attention because sexual assaults are rare at UNLV.
Despite relatively low levels of crime, Lemmon cautioned BYU students against becoming too complacent. He said BYU students can be too trusting, which can lead to trouble.