Homecoming crime rate at relative low

by Dax Tejera | 10/28/03 6:00am

Prior to Sunday evening's armed robbery, Homecoming 2003 was marked by less crime and fewer conduct infractions, according to reports from the Hanover Police Department and the Department of Safety & Security.

Hanover Chief of Police Nick Giaccone said that this year's Homecoming was nothing out of the ordinary. "This weekend was totally in line -- probably a little less of a problem -- than any other Homecoming weekend."

According to police records, a total of 43 offenses were committed between Friday and Monday afternoon, three of which were categorized as felonies. Liquor law violations and public drunkenness constituted over half of the violations. There were also incidents involving theft and assault, among other infractions. A total of 26 individuals were arrested over the weekend.

The only incidents that Giaccone was aware of at the Friday bonfire were reports of upper-class students harassing freshmen with peanut butter. In addition, one student was detained for touching the bonfire. In all, Giaccone seemed satisfied with the effectiveness of the police presence.

College Proctor Harry Kinne, the Director of the Department of Safety and Security, was equally satisfied with his officers' success in maintaining order throughout Homecoming weekend. Kinne, who is new to the College this year, said that by his understanding, the entire Homecoming weekend was "routine."

Kinne reported that the number of incidents, considering the nearly doubled population of the campus over the weekend, was proportional to any other weekend for the College.

The one exception to the downward trend occurred during half-time at the Homecoming football game versus Columbia, during which several students were seen "rushing the field." Last year, for the first time in College history, no students participated in the now forbidden tradition.

Despite heavy joint Safety and Security and Police presence, all but two of the "rushers" escaped without detention. Those students were arrested and are being charged for that offense. Kinne said that the students would also be subject to undisclosed disciplinary action by the College.

Many officers refrained from aggressive pursuit, instead radioing to other officers. Eyewitnesses report that several officials were smirking at the often futile attempts to detain students. In most cases, students were able to outrun multiple officers who approached the students from various angles.

In addition to the two students who were arrested, one student has been identified by Safety and Security via videotape surveillance and will be subject to college sanctions. Safety and Security regularly videotapes highly-attended events. The tape used to identify the third student is being further reviewed to possibly detain additional offenders.

Police presence on the Dartmouth campus is substantially greater than usual during Homecoming weekend. This is believed to deter students from atypical encounters with the law. According to Giaccone, Homecoming weekends traditionally do not pose a significantly higher crime rate.

Proctor Kinne was pleased by the fact that there were no outrageous incidents over the weekend. He was most satisfied by the dearth of incidents at the Friday bonfire, where some 8,000 people converged. "This year's bonfire was very much indicative of what it should be," Kinne said.