By Laura Cochrane
WMU Department of Public Safety has been sending out alerts of crimes in and around campus on its Twitter account.
On October 11, the account tweeted “KDPS is investigating an armed robbery that occurred in the 2600 block of W. Michigan Ave. Use caution in the area.”
But Western Michigan University students say that they are not feeling as safe on and around campus as they would like to be, and while the Twitter posts are an improvement, they aren’t enough.
Over 25 crimes have been reported just this month on or near campus property and 66 in the month of September, and none of these crimes have been sent out in the alert system, according to the WMU public safety crime log. These crimes consist of larceny, malicious destruction of personal property, drug possessions, weapon possessions, breaking and entering, domestic violence, embezzlement, assault and battery and more.
Notifications of smaller incidents, such as on campus robberies and assault and battery crimes, are also not being sent out until after the issue has been handled. “As soon as it’s called in, send the text,” WMU student Roxi Denhartigh said.
She also believes that the right information is not being shared. “You’re going to notify me about a stupid gas leak but not someone literally shooting people,” Denhartigh said.
Denhartigh and others are focused on the campus alerts since the 2016 shooting spree by an Uber driver that included lethal shots fired near, but not on, WMU’s campus. Then-president John Dunn stated in a letter to the campus community that the university would do a better job with alerts regarding dangerous crimes.
She has a different view from Ryan Taylor, a security officer at a nearby hotel. “You don’t want to send an alert out early if you don’t have all the information, the last thing you want to do is cause panic when there’s not an issue,” Taylor said.
However, Jeff Golder, a WMU senior, wants high-priority information regarding safety and crimes to arrive to him in a more timely fashion. Golder lives in a townhome near campus. “I feel as though WMU can help the community if they can provide us with real time information that will help us stay safe.”