OPINION: Too Close to Home: Campus threats may be closer than you expect


Thy Vo

Police car parked in front of McKinley Hall at WSU on Nov. 16, 2021

We love to know the statistics of our daily lives. We love knowing obscure information like how many calories we eat, how many serial killers we’ve walked past and how many breaths we take in a year. More importantly, but far less exciting, many of us enjoy knowing exactly how safe we are in our neighborhoods and homes. 

Public safety is on a need-to-know basis, after all it reassures us that we won’t be hurt, stolen from or worse. This makes it particularly shocking that many current, soon-to-be and former parents of WSU students don’t know that Shocker Hall is one of the most dangerous areas on campus according to the Annual Security Report and 2022 Daily Crime Log.

Within the last month, there have been at least five documented offenses that were committed in or around Shocker Hall. Some of these offenses include stalking, lost property and suspicious characters. 

Looking farther back at the most recent Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, which was last published  in 2021, recorded disturbances that occurred during that same year., There was one rape case recorded and two fondling cases that occurred in Shocker Hall. The same amount of cases for the same crimes were reported as occurring on other campus properties that year as well. 

A total of 32 occurrences were recorded inside of Shocker Hall in 2020 and were primarily liquor and drug abuse violations. 

However, it’s still concerning that these occurrences nearly equal the 49 offenses that were committed on all WSU grounds, around campus property and on public property. This means that percentage wise, Shocker Hall was the crime hotspot of campus in  2020. Until the new report is issued we won’t know if these statistics have improved, but the numbers are staggering and frightening.

Aside from Shocker Hall, WuShock Drive, Research Place and 1845 N Fairmount are currently the most popular locations on campus for criminal activity, according to the 2022 Crime Log. 

Thankfully, the amount of on campus offenses doesn’t seem particularly high compared to crime outside of campus life. As of April 17, there have been 11 outside assists. On WSU grounds there have been three welfare and two sick-and-cared-for reports, two reports of criminal damage to property and lost property, a handful of drug charges, one case of stalking, suspicious characters and auto accidents and seven miscellaneous reports 

  These offenses are not incredibly alarming, but the rate they occur at definitely is. So what is campus security doing to ensure student safety on and off of university grounds? 

WSU police department officers patrol in different sectors around campus where they are assigned. Typically four officers and one sergeant are assigned to every shift, which lasts 10 hours. Certain sectors are also patrolled more frequently depending on the amount of crime committed in the area or if officers are requested for a particular event. 

WSU police Captain Corey Herl said that to ensure student safety, officers use a sort of “element of surprise” to keep criminals on their toes.

“Officers (then) generally patrol those areas at their discretion sporadically so they don’t create patterns—in order to avoid a schedule that a criminal would attempt to take advantage of,” Captain Herl said.

While WSU is ranked 15 out of 18 in “The Safest Colleges in Kansas,” according to Niche.com, I feel secure knowing that there are more than 30 emergency lights around campus and several officers constantly monitoring university grounds and finding the best ways to eliminate crime. While there may be a massive amount of unreported crimes, which will continue to leave WSU students and faculty wondering if we will ever truly be safe, it is reassuring to know that action is in fact being taken.