On-campus crime experienced a slight decrease from 2016 to 2017, according to Ferris Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) 2017 annual crime report.
The total reported number of criminal offenses decreased by 118, dropping from 481 in 2016 to 363 in 2017. Reported non-criminal offenses decreased as well. According to Ferris DPS Chief of Police Bruce Borkovich, the decrease is reliant on several different factors and tends to fluctuate depending on the year.
“It goes up and down year to year. Our folks work hard,” Borkovich said. “We work hard to patrol and respond on campus and educate, take preventative measures, but the exact reasons for that are difficult. There are all those different dynamics of how many officers are working and what they’re focusing on.”
However, 2017 did see a slight increase in both larceny crimes and nonaggravated assaults as compared to 2016. Borkovich said a lot of the non-aggravated assaults result from freshmen in residence halls.
“I can tell you that they tend to be freshmen, they tend to be in residence halls and they tend to be early in the year,” Borkovich said. “Here are some of the common denominators: sometimes it involves intoxication, whether it’s alcohol or marijuana. More often than not, I think what we see are maybe young people who’ve never lived on their own before.”
Ferris and Grand Valley State University both experienced 41 cases of larceny in 2017, according to both schools’ annual crime reports. In regards to these cases, there are preventative measures that students can take.
“We do find two dynamics that could really make a positive change there, and it’s locking doors. So, locking vehicle doors and locking residence hall doors. Those two things alone would eliminate quite a few of these. The other part of that is over the last several years, people have a lot more electronics and technology on them. They tend to have more things with them for technology’s use that are items of value and are items of interest for others,” Borkovich said.
Despite these increases, many students still feel that Ferris is a safe campus to be on overall.
“There seems to be a lot of police officers around here, so they keep a good eye on what activities go down on campus and make sure it’s as safe as they can possibly make it,” Ferris criminal justice freshman Stephen Heberling said. “I’ve lived here my whole life, so I’m a townie. It’s a pretty safe area.”
The degree of safety that students feel is likely due to high DPS officer visibility around campus.
“I feel like it’s pretty safe. Walking around campus during the day, I don’t feel like anything bad is going to happen,” Ferris dental hygiene junior Bailey Giddens said. “You can see police cars drive around, so you know that people are out there.”