Central Michigan University was ranked the fifth-safest campus in Michigan by www.StateUniversity.com, yet, what is statistically a safe campus in a safe community has shown an entirely different face in recent months.
Despite a low crime rate on campus, Mount Pleasant perpetrators have shown a greater tendency toward violent crimes, according to CMU Police Chief Bill Yeagley.
“For all of Isabella County, incidents have decreased, and some violent offenses went down as well,” Yeagley said. “Overall (the crime rate is) going down, but the number of things that have gotten our attention have seemed to increase.”
Most recently, Eric Lee Ramsey, 30, was shot and killed when he abducted a Grand Rapids senior outside of the Student Activity Center on Jan. 16.
“Evidenced by the amount of high-profile crime, things are different today,” Yeagley said.
Yeagley said such high-profile crimes will not be tolerated in any sense by the university police.
“The people committing these acts deserve special attention by CMU police, and we are dedicated to giving them the attention they deserve,” Yeagley said.
He also said university police have made it a point to be visibly present in response to Jan. 16′s incident, and students have been responding positively to those efforts.
Lt. Cameron Wassman said students have been employing Safe Rides more frequently since Jan. 16. Before the incident, there were roughly 200 rides given per week; the number has since risen to between 275 and 300.
Although the increase could also be caused by colder weather, Safe Rides has doubled the amount of vehicles on the road.
Safe Rides is not the only service that has seen an increase in student activity.
Nearly 1,000 students have signed up for the Central Alert system, Associate Vice President of University Communications Sherry Knight previously told Central Michigan Life.
Some students on campus have been deeply affected by the abduction and the string of high-profile incidents that proceeded it.
Clinton Township senior Danielle Toerper said she is in disbelief as to how something like an abduction could happen in Mount Pleasant.
“So many acts happened all in one incident and people can’t believe it happened in a town we all live in, especially when CMU was just named the fifth safest campus,” Toerper said.
Bay City sophomore Breanna Kindel said the incident has frightened both her and her friends.
“I think it’s impacted everyone I know,” she said. “Just last night, a friend and I walked through the (Student Activity Center) parking lot … and couldn’t help but think of what happened.”
Kindel said she can’t help but to realize everyone is a target for random acts of violence.
“It scares me,” Kindel said. “That night around that time, I was working out in the East Area Fitness Center, so it makes me think if I lived off campus this year I would be at the SAC instead. I’m a girl, same age, could have been at the same place … so it could have happened to me.”