Campus police talk WMU ‘Welcome Week’ safety

KALAMAZOO, Mich. —  Police at Western Michigan University have increased their presence on campus this week in anticipation of 'Welcome Week.'

Thousands of students  are moving into their apartments or dorms, giving themselves a few days to relax and have fun before classes begin on Tuesday.

"During Welcome Week sometimes students are, for the first time, away from home and they just really don’t know how to handle themselves," said Sgt. Andrew Bachmann with the WMU Campus Public Safety Department. "So they might leave their property unattended.

Sgt. Bachmann said most of the problems students encounter during Welcome Week is property theft, with laptops and phones being stolen. However, issues arise off-campus as well. Thursday night, two men were arrested near the university on gun and drugs charges.

"We’re always vigilant," Bachmann said. "Our officers are always patrolling around campus and making sure the students are safe."

Two years ago, an off-campus party grew so unruly that police used pepper spray to disperse the crowds.  Sgt. Bachmann said that if you're going to go out, be aware of your surroundings at all times.

"If they’re going to go out to parties, whether it be on-campus or off-campus, have a game plan; leave as group, come back as a group," said Sgt. Bachmann. "That’s always the safest thing to do, and try to avoid walking alone. If you don’t feel safe you can always call for a ride. Our department provides rides on campus."

Student employees with the WMU Public Safety Department provide those rides.  They're available all hours of the day during the fall and spring semesters.

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1 Comment

  • michaeljmcfadden

    There are some campuses that have banned smoking on the entirety of their campus grounds, forcing students to wander off into surrounding neighborhoods if they want to have a smoke in the evening. I don’t know how common the practice is, but on at least once campus in either Mich. or Minn. the campus security objected to providing safety for the smokers, saying the idea of the ban was to stop them from smoking. (Which calls to mind the old imagery of women “asking for it” if they wore short skirts…)

    What is WMU’s policy in this general area of concern?

    – MJM