Campus crime on the decline

Photo by Joanna Mikolajczak

95 offenses reported in 2011; only 56 on 2012 books thus far

By Alana King
Staff Writer

North Lake College students may have noticed the increase in reported thefts and burglaries over the past few months, but crime as a whole between the months of January and

November 2012 has decreased 41 percent from crimes reported from January to November 2011, according to North Lake College Police Chief JC Drake.

Six separate incidents of theft have been reported since Sept. 21, which is an increase for NLC. However, overall theft on campus has decreased from 17 incidences in 2011 to only 14 incidences this year.

In spite of the recent spike in thefts and burglaries, the Daily Crime Log actually tells another story. “A comparison of the incidence of crimes occurring on NLC properties – from January to November of 2011 and 2012, respectively – indicates that crime on campus has fallen from 95 reported crimes in 2011 to 56 reported crimes in 2012,” said Drake.

And although theft is a serious issue, it doesn’t fall under the major crimes category. Drake reported NLC has only had one major crime instance in 2011 and one in 2012.

“For a population of over 10,000, North Lake students are very good,” Lt. Bob Zito of the NLCPD said. “[It’s] one of the best in the District.”

Zito may have a point, too. Four Dallas County Community Colleges were on StateUniversity.com’s 2011 list of “Top 450 Ranked Colleges – Highest Safety Rating.” NLC was ranked the safest among those schools at No. 24 in the nation, which is 29 spots better than the next DCCCD campus, Brookhaven, which ranked No. 53 overall.

The recent rise of thefts and burglaries hasn’t caused panic among certain NLC students though. “I’ve always felt safe on campus because the police are here at all times,” said current student Robert Thompson.

With the DART Orange Line Light Rail Station opening on campus in December, there will be an increase of foot traffic with rail riders arriving or departing from North Lake at various different times. This may be a new factor in crimes that could occur on NLC property.

DART police will be in the area, but as Mark A. Bell, DART media relations representative explained, “DART traverses 13 cities and 6 counties… a 700-square-mile area,” suggesting crime coverage may be a challenge. “DART police officers routinely work in cooperation with other local law enforcement agencies including those of campuses such as North Lake College,” said Bell.

According to the North Lake College website, there are various ways that students, faculty or staff can contact the NLCPD. To report a crime or suspicious behavior, NLC attendees can call 972-860-4290, dial 9-1-1 from a campus phone, or by using the emergency call boxes located around campus. NLC populous can speak with a campus police officer or anonymously report a crime at the campus police office C-204.

Theft is a crime that has always commonly occurred on college campuses, and Chief Drake advises students to “keep possessions with you at all times and don’t bring unnecessary valuables to school.” Furthermore, whether thefts and burglaries are common or not, students need to lock their vehicles and make sure all windows are completely rolled up, he said.