Campus crime rate drops more than 75 percent during summer months

Two Kent City police officers make a traffic stop on South Water St. in the early hours of May 4, 2013. Photo by Matt Hafley

Christina Bucciere

Summer campus crime has decreased overall during the last five years, with an even bigger drop compared to spring and fall semesters, according to records from the Kent State Police Department.

From 2008 to 2012, the number of criminal reports during summer months — May through August — dropped by about 27 percent. Last summer, there were 141 crimes recorded, compared with 837 during the school year.

For example, liquor violations — one of the most common crimes on campus — occurred 15 times during Summer 2012, compared with 144 times during the rest of the year. This summer, the numbers are following the trend so far, said Michquel Penn, communications officer for the KSUPD.

“The activity level in the summer definitely declines — having less people on campus always has an impact on the number of calls we respond to,” she said. “During [Fourth of July] weekend, campus was relatively quiet. And there were only a few calls that our officers went off campus to provide assistance to the city of Kent Police Department, as part of our mutual aid contract.”

This decrease in criminal activity allows the department to focus on other projects, Penn said.

“The department has time to do a lot of community outreach with the faculty and staff that are here,” she said. “We do a lot of training programs and workshops, such as managing destructive behavior and A.L.I.C.E. training.”

Penn said the quieter summer months also give officers a chance to use empty campus buildings for different kinds of departmental courses, such as active shooter training.

Fewer students also affects the city police department, and officers adapt their school-year routes to fit this decrease in activity.

“When it is really busy on weekend nights, the minute an officer leaves from a loud party complaint, the dispatcher sends them to the next one, and that’s all they’re doing,” said James Prusha, administrative lieutenant for the Kent Police Department.

Without all the parties, city officers can focus more on other criminal activity, Prusha said.

“It’s kind of frustrating because you know that there are some drunk drivers out there getting away, but you’re so busy with the parties that there’s not much you can do,” he said. “In the summer, officers have more time to go monitor other criminal activities that don’t see as much attention during the school year.”

More specifically, Prusha said, officers don’t have to spend quite as much time on University Drive.

The KPD summer crime rate does not drop nearly as much as the KSUPD reports, mainly due to the fact that the KPD covers a wider area and populace than the university police, Prusha said.

Although the summer crime rate declines significantly on campus, Penn said, one crime is consistently present throughout the year.

“One type of crime that still takes place throughout the summer is petty theft,” Penn said. “I think sometimes people aren’t as cautious with their belongings as they should be, but theft happens all the time.”

Contact Christina Bucciere at [email protected].