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Community members discuss student safety

Marisa Iati | Thursday, April 26, 2012

Leaders from South Bend and local colleges discussed student safety and the relationship between the city and schools at a Community/Campus Advisory Coalition meeting Wednesday.

Mark Kramer, owner of Kramer Properties, which provides housing to many local college students including those at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s, said four larcenies occurred last weekend amid Blue-Gold Game festivities.

“[Larcenies have] really been happening in the last two or three weeks, I guess,” Kramer said. “The students need to warn their fellow students to keep their laptops out of sight or out of the car … It can happen anywhere.”

Student body president Brett Rocheleau said student government has sent emails to the student body about protecting themselves from theft.

“In our Good Neighbor Guides that we give out to everyone at the beginning of the year, we’re going to add a whole section about staying safe,” he said. “Things like lock your door, don’t think you’re safe all the time and fall into that false sense of security.”

Mike Carrington of the South Bend Alcoholic Beverage Board said students often host large off-campus parties this time of year because the weather becomes nice. He said excise and local police can become involved in these situations.

“It’s possible to come out with a bus and take everybody to jail, and we’re not advocating for that,” he said. “We want to avoid that … When somebody shows up [at a student party] and says, ‘Hey, you need to turn it down and close it down,’ they need to understand that they need to do that.”

Carrington said underage students who enter bars using fake identification cards are jeopardizing themselves and the business owners.

“If [students] want to have good places to go to and have them be safe and good places, then we need to have the cooperation of those [owners] and … them not being inundated with students trying to get in with false IDs,” he said.

St. Joseph County Sheriff Michael Grzegorek said cooperation between local colleges and the city has been “fantastic” recently.

Jeffrey Walters, Uniform Division chief for the South Bend Police, said his department was pleased with the relationship that has developed over the past few years between South Bend residents and college administrators, students and faculty.

“We’ve solved a lot of problems and I’m happy to report that we don’t have a whole lot of issues right now,” he said.