Crime wave stalled; LCS advises vigilance
Despite the recent lack of theft and crime on campus, Director of Campus Safety Mike Dressel cautions students to remain aware, as this is most likely a slow period in a methamphetamine-related crime cycle.
“There is no way to convince me that (the thefts are) not coming back,” Dressel said. “Meth addicts need to commit a crime every day to feed their addiction.”
In February 2007, there was a large spike in crime, such as car thefts at the Legacy Apartments. This was followed by the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University tragedy, which Dressel said changed the world of campus safety.
During the 2007 school year, there was a multitude of crimes—most of which were petty theft—and the crime wave continued through the summer.
“Nobody on campus is more frustrated with this than (I),” Dressel said. “Every time (theft) happens, I take it personally. My job is to protect the life and property of this campus.”
Dressel said he suspected a particular arrest in Salem, which took place in April, of a man named Ivan Cam slowed the assault on campus. Cam was part of a large fencing operation that extended its reach to the Linfield campus. Dressel said there were warehouses full of stolen items .
To help sort through the stolen goods, a task force was established. If the force found something that was reported stolen, then it could clear the case. The task force found several items stolen from Linfield, including a new iMac computer.
Dressel described the current situation as a peak-and-valley scenario, in which there are highs and lows regarding frequency of thefts.
Currently, Linfield Campus Security is responding to fewer calls, whereas last year there was a timely warning issued around finals week. However, the new Call Now program, installed by LCS, has increased the number of phone calls reporting suspicious circumstances.
“We used to get one to two (calls) a week,” Dressel said. “Now we get them about once a day.”
LCS has also started a directed patrol, meaning the officers will patrol certain high-risk areas rather than just roaming.
Dressel also said that the increase in student awareness has helped the fight against crime.
“(Students) know better than we do who belongs on campus and who doesn’t,” he said.
Despite the calm period, the thefts still cause grief for LCS.
“It’s frustrating to live with this problem,” Dressel said. “We are doing our best to put a stop to it, but our options are limited.”
For now, Dressel said he hopes the relatively crimeless period will continue after graduation and through the summer.
“Everyone needs to play defense at Linfield now,” Dressel said.