The University of Wisconsin – La Crosse can add campus safety to its yearly achievements. Campus police Chief Scott Rohde reports that constant patrols and visibility make up for the bulk of UW-L’s low crime rates.
This phenomenon is in stark contrast to the amount of crime on the city streets. According to Chief Rohde, UW-L’s campus police have a habit of always showing a presence around campus, to reduce the opportunity for individuals to commit crimes. Students are not only benefitting from the campus police’s vigilance, and the immediate community receives better safety as a byproduct. “Those who live near campus are glad to live in the area because of patrols, thus lower crime levels.”
Patrol methods used regularly by UW-L’s campus police include patrol by car, golf cart, bicycles and undercover foot patrols. Police received $16,000 this year in grant funding from the state for these low-profile patrols. “We do un-uniformed officers in the early part of Fall semester; We’ve actually walked into marijuana sales and seen a cocaine transaction.” The younger officers can usually pass for college students, thus they are used in a manner that is reminiscent of 21 Jump Street.
Most of the problems on campus are alcohol related. “Alcohol-related offenses, the bar graph is really high, for everything else it’s very low. We think underage citations are about 10% of what’s happening. Alcohol-related are noise, damage or drug sales. Violent crimes or threats are really low, 10-11 per calendar year. Nationally, only 50% of crimes are ever reported.” Low crime numbers are a good indication but by no means a total estimate of criminal activity. On campus too there is typically low reporting .
Campus police headquarters has recently moved its location from the corner of East Avenue and Farwell Street to its updated location connected to the new parking ramp down the road.