Campus police report decrease in cases of stalking, burglary

An Assistance/Emergency phone lights up blue for students walking across Kedzie and Fairchild Halls on Oct. 15, 2015. (Photo by Evert Nelson | Collegian Media Group)

Reports of stalking and burglary on campus at Kansas State University have decreased since 2014, while the University of Kansas and Fort Hays State University saw increases during the same time period.

According to the 2017 Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report, reports of on-campus stalking crimes at K-State have decreased by 60 percent from 2014 to 2016.

Meanwhile, KU and FHSU reported 83 and 66 percent increases since 2014, respectively.

Charlotte Fathi, sophomore in architecture, said she and her friends take measures to ensure their safety on campus by walking in groups and being aware of the blue light phone boxes.

“I’m on campus very late due to my major, and I live in Ford [Hall],” Fathi said. “I’ve never felt any issues walking home alone at night, but I do know that my friends often have.”

In late September, the Riley County Police Department filed a report for sexual battery and aggravated burglary involving a 20-year-old female victim. The assault took place very close to K-State, according to KSNT News.

Zac Masterson, senior in life sciences, said he has never felt threatened on K-State’s campus, though his friends feel differently.

“Pretty much every girl that I know has said something about feeling scared at one point, especially with recent events,” Masterson said. “It seems at least once a week this year I’ve heard a girl talk about a guy or some story of stalking or assault.”

Masterson said as a man, the issue does not come up as much.

“As easy as it would be to say that it’s the fault of culture norms that center the attention on girls, it’s just the facts,” Masterson said. “It seems like 99 percent of sexual assault cases or stalking cases are men to women, with the woman as the victim.”

K-State offers programs seeking “to identify dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking as prohibited conduct” throughout the academic year and summer, totaling 19 possible programs.

Jessica Garcia, sophomore in microbiology, said the first time she took K-State’s Assault & Sexual Assault Prevention annual training she found the information extremely interesting to read through.

“I think programs like that help to an extent, but some people just flip through it to get it over with,” Garcia said. “I think a lot of people, like me, just don’t worry about something bad, like getting kidnapped, happening to them on campus.”

KU and FHSU also provide education on sexual assault and stalking; the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center at KU trained over 10,000 students, staff and faculty on sexual violence prevention in person, and almost 20,000 students received the training online.

Despite increases in cases of stalking at two of the three universities, all three saw a decrease in burglary rates from 2014 to 2016.

K-State reported a decrease of 71 percent, and FHSU reported a 66 percent decrease. KU reported a 36 percent decrease.

Fathi said she recalls an occasion when one of her personal items was stolen on-campus, calling it “something that just happens.”

“It just was sad because they were 200 dollar sunglasses,” Fathi said. “Ever since then I’ve felt a little more cautious, but not so much that I would change my habits. I’ve never felt harmed or threatened here at all.”