The Carleton bubble that is supposed to shield Carls from the outside world has popped.
Last weekend, eight vehicles parked in the Recreation Center parking lot were broken into and robbed. On Tuesday, two offices in the Weitz Center for Creativity were entered and had items stolen.
“We all need to be aware that crime occurs even in relatively safe communities,” said Wayne Eisenhuth, Carleton College Director of Security. “While these incidents are not typical, they do occur from time to time.”
At 8:25 AM on Sunday Oct. 20, a student notified Security Services that her vehicle had been broken into. After informing the Northfield Police Department, the security officer discovered seven additional vehicles with smashed windows.
Between Oct. 18 and Oct. 20, the Northfield Police Department received over a dozen reports of automobile thefts either on or within a mile of Carleton campus. Stolen items included GPS units, purses, a cell phone, a backpack, cash, keys, sunglasses, a cassette adaptor, and a phone charger.
“Security was really great and responsive,” said Emily Boghessian ’14, whose car’s window was smashed and broken into. When she received the call, the first thing that she thought was, “’There is nothing in my car worth stealing.’ I was a little surprised, given that this is Northfield. But mostly, it was a pain in the ass.”
According to Northfield Police Officer Mark Dukatz, police took a suspect into custody after he attempted to use a stolen debit card at a grocery store in Fairbault. At the time of the arrest, the suspect was armed with a small handgun. Dukatz said, “He’s a local kid. It’s not the first time we’ve dealt with him.”
On Tuesday morning, two incidents of theft from offices in the Weitz Center for Creativity were reported to Carleton Security Services. Stolen items included a wallet, a checkbook, a purse, and a computer bag.
One victim of the thefts said, “It’s unbelievable. I always believed that things like this didn’t happen in Norhtfield, much less on Carleton campus. I guess I was wrong.”
To prevent more incidents like this, Eisenhuth said, “We need to be more proactive in our approach to crime.” He emphasized the need to focus on “informing and educating the community that these types of crimes occur – even in relatively safe communities.”
According to Dylan Powell ‘14, “Northfield is still an extremely safe town, despite a couple random instances of this.”
However, this widespread belief among Carleton students and faculty can be dangerous. Most crimes that occur on campus can be classified as crimes of opportunity,” said Eisenhuth. These involve leaving doors to rooms, offices, bicycles, and vehicles unlocked, leaving valuable items unattended, and leaving cash and other valuables in plain view.
While criminal activity cannot be eliminated, Eisenhuth emphasized that “Crime prevention is a shared responsibility.” The first step to preventing these crimes is to acknowledge that criminal activity occurs everywhere: even in the land of “Cows, Colleges, and Contentment.”