Despite a string of incidents on and around campus last year, Central Michigan University Police Chief Bill Yeagley said the university remains as safe as it has ever been.
According to Yeagley, campus has not seen a significant rise in crimes over the last few years. Last year, it was the nature of the crimes, rather than the number of crimes, that had people worried.
“(The numbers) are pretty consistent,” Yeagley said. “There has not been any major change.”
Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski echoed those thoughts when asked about the issue of safety on and around CMU’s campus.
“We’re no different than any other city in the country,” Mioduszewski said. “For a long time, we didn’t see a lot of the violent crimes.”
Moreover, the fact that a student was abducted gave the community the feeling that the area was less safe, when in reality the same number of crimes has been occurring for several years.
“We were not surprised at all,” Mioduszewski said. “(But) we were not happy to see it.”
According to Yeagley, it was the violent nature of this particular crime that caused students and citizens to become so worried.
“What we did have was something that was very horrendous and very unusual for our area,” Yeagley said. “I think it got everyone’s attention, rightfully so.”
Mount Pleasant Police have made a few changes made to increase the safety of those on and near campus, Mount Pleasant Public Information Officer Jeff Thompson said.
“We have not seen a big enough increase trend to warrant a drastic reaction, (but) we have revised our city ordinances to better serve the public,” Thompson said. “We will continue to take public disturbances seriously to prevent parties from getting out of control.”
One point stressed by both Thompson and Mioduszewski was how students and citizens can play a big part in their own safety by being more aware of their surroundings and taking extra precautions.
“Don’t bury your head in your phones or tablets,” Thompson said. “Predatory people, same as in the wild, target the weak. That includes anyone not paying attention or traveling alone in the dark.”
Mioduszewski also emphasized the importance of not walking alone at night.
“Walk with friends,” he said. “Simple things like that can go a long way.”