There’s been a lot of news lately about college students behaving badly, and my alma mater, West Virginia University in Morgantown, has earned its fair share of those headlines. Let’s face it: Where there are colleges, there are college students who sometimes make unwise decisions that lead them to be charged with crimes such as underage drinking, public intoxication, vandalism, and harassment. While you’ve likely seen the headlines, you might not be familiar with the statistics – or how serious the issue of college crimes is being taken federally.
An FBI study from a few years back said crime in schools is “one of the most troublesome social problems in the nation today.” According to the report: “Not only does it affect those involved in the criminal incident, but it also hinders societal growth and stability. In that light, it is vital to understand the characteristics surrounding crime in schools, colleges, and universities and the offenders who reportedly commit these offenses so that law enforcement, policymakers, school administrators, and the public and properly combat and reduce the amount of crime occurring in these institutions.”
To that end, I wanted to let my friends in the West Virginia University community know that they can stay up-to-date with the types of crimes being perpetrated on campus by simply visiting the school’s website. The WVU website publishes a publicly available police log detailing reports taken from its internal police department. The page lists incidents by day, and 90 days’ worth of reports are available. In addition, there are links to the Morgantown Police Department and area correctional facilities. Also of interest is an interactive crime mapping tool that allows users to search for crime by address and more. Like anything, the only way to combat and prevent college crimes is to have a better understanding of the crimes being committed, and where. And West Virginia University is giving the community the tools to do just that.