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The Dartmouth
April 19, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Police, Safety and Security officers muster extra forces

Homecoming has a long tradition of debauchery and rowdy behavior, but reveler beware -- the Hanover Police Department will be fielding 20 extra police officers to make sure the sweep and bonfire are safe and legal.

Unsurprisingly, Homecoming weekend usually sees a notable increase in incidents. Though the most visible Homecoming arrests are students who touch the bonfire or rush the field, Hanover Police Chief Nick Giaccone said that the majority of Homecoming security violations are more mundane.

Historically, the Friday night bonfire and the freshman sweep have the most raucous behavior and the most police activity. In 2001, Bonfire Night had 23 incidents ranging from intoxication to vandalism and including one charge of trespassing and resisting arrest.

After the bonfire, incidents slow down, but usually bonfire night only includes about half of the total incidents. Over the past several years, the total number of incidents has ranged from 50 to the high 60s, and usually about 50 percent of those are alcohol violations.

"The incidents we generally see are the normal ones. There are just more of the underage possession, carrying open containers of alcohol in public places, those type of things," Giaccone said.

Occasionally though, more serious incidents occur. In 1999, a Dartmouth female student was sexually assaulted by a man who did not attend the College. There are also a handful of assault cases every year between rowdy Dartmouth students who attack one another, and in 1998 several students, who were never arrested, assaulted Safety and Security officers, stole their radios and flung them into the crowd.

Safety and Security officer Rebel Roberts says that though Safety and Security does not increase their security for Homecoming Weekend, there is an increased safety threat to students.

Roberts said that Safety and Security focuses more on making sure students are safe over the weekend as opposed to preventing them from rushing the bonfire. Roberts added that there are increased security concerns because students let their guard down when encountering strangers from the huge influx of people to campus.

"We encourage people to report any suspicious activity because there are people who are on campus who aren't usually on campus. We recommend that students lock their doors, and we do have 46 exterior blue lights on campus and we should be happy for people to use those to call anything," Roberts said.

Both Roberts and Giaccone agreed that Homecoming was more or less the same every year. "The trend of incidents is pretty flat," Giaccone said.