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University Police Reminds Campus How to Keep Safe

After the death of a North Dakota State student late last month, officials are emphasizing the continued safety of campus.

The body of Thomas Bearson, 18, a freshman at NDSU, was found in Moorhead last month and was the victim of homicide.

Ray Boyer, the director of the University Police and Safety Office, issued a statement that said the circumstances surrounding the death of Bearson are believed to be the first ever.

“We have always found our campus to be safe and secure, with consistently low numbers of crimes reported,” he said in the statement.

Boyer brought attention to the 2014-2015 Annual Security Report showing the campus still remains safe.

The report shows violent crime on campus is almost nonexistent.

In 2013, only two sexual offenses, two aggravated assaults, no robberies and no murders or manslaughter cases were reported.

A vast majority of the offenses listed in the security report are drug- or alcohol-related.

Only one motor vehicle theft was reported last year on campus.

One increasing category was campus burglaries. In 2013, 12 on-campus burglaries were reported compared to only six the previous year.

Sex offenses dropped significantly from 2012.

Eight sexual offenses were reported in 2012 and 2013; that dropped by 75 percent.

While the numbers in the security report aren’t alarming, Boyer still encouraged walking with others on and off campus and at night. Police escorts are also available 24/7 by phone at 701-231-8998.

Blue light emergency phones scattered throughout campus can be used in the event of an emergency. The phones connect directly to university police.

Precautions

Boyer’s statement included ways to stay safe on and off campus.

“Stay sober. Many crimes against persons occur when one or both parties are under the influence of alcohol and/or other drugs,” he said.

Keeping rooms locked when absent, sleeping or napping was another important piece of advice for students to follow.

Other advice is to not hide keys outside your apartment or room, don’t prop doors open and don’t dress in front of an open window.

The statement was pretty adamant about not going out or studying alone late at night. It also suggests staying in well-lit areas of the campus and avoiding vacant areas.

Fire Safety

The safety report also highlighted the number of fire incidents from the previous year.

Only two small fires were reported last year that caused between $0-99 worth of damage, the report said.

The incidents were cooking-related and happened in Bison Court East and North Weible Hall.

The report highlighted what measures are in place to prevent fires and to fight them if they do occur.

Only Niskanen South and Niskanen North have partial fire sprinkler systems, the report said. Every residence facility has fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, though.

Additionally, each residence facility, with the exception of University Village, took part in two fire drills last year.

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