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Safety report reveals low crime rate

Public Safety’s annual Safety and Security Report found that liquor law and drug violations have increased, but that other forms of crime have leveled off.

This information was sent via email to all students, staff and faculty. In compliance with the Clery Act, Public Safety is required to record and provide all criminal activity on campus for every calendar year by the first of October.

Kaz Trypuc, public safety supervisor, said that of the crimes that are reported, most of them are fairly tame.

“Oftentimes the crimes that we deal with on campus are fairly minor. Here at Point Loma, the thing that’s not in the report is simple petty theft. We don’t have to report on that because it’s not a major crime but that is the most common thing that we experience here on campus,” said Trypuc.

The PLNU report highlighted five areas of activity: forcible sex offenses, burglary, motor vehicle theft, liquor law violations and drug law violations. More serious crimes such as murder and arson are required by law to be reported but there hasn’t been any activity in those categories for three years, the time frame for this report.

This year was the first year that Liberty Station campus received a safety report because some of the requirements for a separate campus report applied to Liberty Station. According to the Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting, in order for a site to be considered a separate campus, “your institution owns or controls the site, it is not reasonably geographically contiguous with the main campus, it has an organized program of study and there is at least one person on site acting in an administrative capacity.”

All highlighted PLNU offenses in the report increased from 2011 to 2012 except for burglary and motor vehicle theft. Comparatively, both USD and SDSU liquor law violations have decreased in the same time span although the numbers for their report are much larger due to the size of the campus, with about 8,321 and 31,000 students on campus respectively. For PLNU, burglaries and thefts have decreased from 19 to 6 and 12 to 5.

Trypuc said that these instances of burglary and theft are a result of outside influences on PLNU and special cases.

“A lot of those really are just people going into residence halls and a number of those had to do with thefts perpetrated by off campus individuals,” said Trypuc. “A couple of those were the surfboard incident, some teenagers, there are just a few things.”

Most crimes reported were not committed by any PLNU student, staff or faculty. Two outside citizens were involved in the one sex offense and Public Safety learned of this from the San Diego Police Department. Because it was on the PLNU campus, they had to report it.

Considering the size of the campus, the crime rate is fairly low, but, according to Trypuc, petty thefts can be prevented.

“Theft is the most common for campus crime and most of the time, it can be prevented if students locked their doors and secured their valuables,” said Trypuc. “If you leave your laptop in the library, cash on your dresser or a PlayStation with the door open when they go off to class, someone is going to come along and possibly take it…the fact of the matter is that these things do happen and there are some pretty simple steps that we can take to prevent them.”

Along with preventing thefts, Public Safety has also made an effort to prepare students in case of an active shooter on campus. On Sept. 27, Mark Galbraith, director of public safety, sent out a campus-wide email regarding a video that shows how to react in that situation.

“While the question of how to prevent these tragedies is asked by politicians, law enforcement, and experts; ordinary people like you and me should ask what we can do to prepare ourselves if it ever happens to us…here…now,” said Galbraith in the email.

Public Safety will continue to keep track of crimes happening on campus. They also keep track of crimes that happen in neighborhoods around campus which can be seen on the Public Safety page on the PLNU website.

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