March 2, 2011

Tracking trends in the Campus Safety Log

Every week, The Knox Student publishes the Campus Safety Log, a list of incidents involving the Office of Campus Safety that occurred during the week.

According to Director of Campus Safety John Schlaf, the Knox safety log goes beyond the requirements of the Department of Education, which requires colleges and universities to publish information about burglaries, arsons and other major crimes.

“What we have done [as Campus Safety] is provide all activity [in the log],” Schlaf said. “Fire alarms may not be as dramatic, but we feel it’s better to publish everything that we do.”

Still, there is some information left out of the log for the sake of privacy, such as names and specifics about certain cases.

“If there’s interest in a particular incident and a reporter wants to do a story, we may release more information depending on the nature of the incident,” Schlaf said.

The main function of the log, Schlaf said, is to be a resource for students.

“It encourages personal awareness about safety,” he said. “It’s not just a source of general information. It’s a source of good safety information that can be used to benefit students.”

The following data is accurate for the 2010-2011 school year as of Feb. 20, 2011.

Fire alarms

The incidents in the log that affect most students on a day-to-day basis are fire alarms. As of Feb. 20, there have been 107 fire alarms during the 2010-2011 school year. According to the log, only five of these went off due to actual fires.

For 51 fire alarms this year, there has been “no apparent cause” for the alarm activation. When this happens, it is often due to a problem that can be fixed on the spot, such as a dirty detector. If the problem requires more intensive attention, the Campus Safety officer on the scene writes up a work order. So far this year, 19 work orders have been submitted.

“Basically, if there’s work required that needs to be done by Facilities, we’ll write a work order,” Schlaf said.

Often, trouble alarms alert Campus Safety that there is an issue with the fire alarm system.

“For example, if an area has excessive rain, the increased water levels may affect the way the signals in the alarm system operate,” Schlaf said. “The system is designed to detect those fluctuations.”

There have been nine trouble alarms this year, four of which occurred at Sigma Chi.

Common causes for fire alarm activation:

no apparent cause (51)

burned food (22)

smoking in student rooms (10)

heat from a curling or straightening iron (5)

dirty detector (4)

Places with the most fire alarms:

Five-Name (12)

Beta Theta Pi (9)

Conger-Neal (9)

240 W. Tompkins (7)

Phi Gamma Delta (7)

Raub-Sellew (7)

Sigma Chi (7)

Substance violations

This year, 19 students have been written up for intoxication or underage drinking. Another six have been caught with cannabis in their possession.

Campus Safety officers usually come across cannabis while responding to a different incident.

“Sometimes we get a call about a smell, but mostly it’s the fire alarms,” Schlaf said. “We have to go room to room to see which alarm went off, and sometimes in the process there’s an open observation of something like that.”

The noisiest places on campus (by number of noise complaints):

Post (4)

516 S. West (3)

A.B.L.E. House (3, all on same night)

Hamblin (2)

Seymour (2)

Townhouses (2)

Williston (2)

Criminal damage:

2 broken doors

2 broken windows

1 instance of trespassing

1 keyed car

1 vent kicked out

1 instance of phone lines being cut

1 gas valve marker removed

1 instance of pipes pulled loose from a sprinkler system

Major incidents

7 fights and other disturbances

2 batteries

2 threats

1 active order of protection filed

1 sexual assault

1 suicide attempt

Bizarre incidents

Sept. 17: Campus Safety was contacted by a local business about a person believed to be a Knox student who left without paying for a meal.

Sept. 19: A lightning strike near Casa Latina set off the fire alarm.

Oct. 3: A subject was cited for public indecency after exposing himself on campus.

Oct. 10: Campus Safety removed a mouse from the pool.

Oct. 16: Students were caught wrapping caution tape around Williston Hall and the Wilson House.

Jan. 30: Campus Safety received a report of students throwing glass bottles out the windows of Tau Kappa Epsilon.


checks from the library

3 bicycles

1 iPod

1 gym bag

1 set of keys

1 debit card

1 bracelet

Anna Meier

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