Crime at Eastern University: Campus security helps inform students on how to stay safe on campus

By: Daniel Finegan

Waltonian | The Waltonian Eagle Learning Center is home to Eastern’s public safety.

In 2019, there were 24 crimes on Eastern University’s St. Davids campus, according to the 2022 Security Report. In 2020 there were 47. In 2021 there were 70. During the past few months, there have been various rumors about crimes on Eastern’s campus. Chief Michael Bicking, Director of Public Safety, addresses the situation: “This year, we will probably have more crime than we had last year.” He explained, “as a campus grows in student body, what ends up happening is we end up [starting] to experience more calls, whether it be calls for investigation for a crime or service.” This fall, Eastern’s enrollment was higher than ever before, with 5,430 students. With these record numbers come new opportunities, but, unfortunately, can also lead to more crime. To illustrate this point, if 1% of students commit a crime per year, that means that increases in the student population will lead to increases in crime.

However, the increase in student population does not tell the whole story. The fall semester student population in 2019 was 3,171 students, according to the 2022 Security Report. In 2020, there were 1,196, and in 2021, there were 1,479. Even though the student population was lower in 2020 and 2021, those years saw more crimes than in 2019. This uptick in crime coincides with the rising rates of crime across the nation in 2020. Crime has been on the rise throughout the U.S., and Eastern is not excluded from this overall trend.

Chief Bicking also confirmed some of the rumors about crimes on campus: several catalytic converters were recently stolen off cars parked on campus, and there was also a hit-and-run incident. Chief Bicking does however reassure that “we are not overwhelmed.”

Chief Bicking also offers some valuable insight into how we should handle crime on our school’s campus. He states, “It is never a victim’s fault for any reason. I don’t care if you’re walking down the middle of the street in a seedy neighborhood and you’re flashing $100 bills. If you get robbed, it’s not your fault. It may not have been a good decision on your part, but it wasn’t your fault. So, with that as a basis, there are things that we can do to make ourselves safer, and some of those things are being aware of your surroundings, knowing what’s going on around you, knowing if somebody is paying particularly more attention to you than you would prefer… I’m not preaching being afraid all the time. What I’m preaching is to be aware and reduce your probability of being a victim.”

Sources: 2022 Security Report for Eastern, Eastern University Website, CNN

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