College students vulnerable to crime - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

College students vulnerable to crime

DUBUQUE (KWWL) - It makes sense, when there are more people in a city, there is typically more crime, but what about when most of those people are under 21, and have never lived in a big city before. That's the case for many college students who've grown up in iowa towns where most don't lock their doors, and crime is little to none.

Sometimes they can become victim to crime. And it can happen when you least expect it. Dubuque is a safe city, but it isn't crime free. With a large number of college students back in town, safety is a conversation worth having.

Michael Tomlonovic and Kelli Massengale are both from small towns. But for them moving to Dubuque for college wasn't a huge change.

"The small town atmosphere is still around dubuque so I lock my car sometimes, I leave my dorm room unlocked when I'm around," said Tomlonovic.

But that small town atmosphere doesn't mean it's crime free.

"Many times you bring in that volume of people and property, you may see a slight increase," said Lieutenant Scott Baxter.

Baxter says every fall when college students move to campus they can be targeted.

"A lot of times these are crimes of opportunity. A lot of times a person may see an intoxicated individual walking by themselves and think this is a perfect opportunity and do a spur of the moment attack," said Baxter.

Baxter says despite a relatively low crime rate in Dubuque, it's important for college students to be aware. Which is why colleges are educating students too.

"It doesn't matter if you're from a small town with a population of 50 or from one of our larger cities, it's always about caution and being aware of who's around and where you're at," said Jessica Bonert, area coordinator for Binz Hall at Loras College.

Security in Binz Hall keeps students safe. Doors are locked to non-residents. But when students step off campus things can change.

"When you're out on the weekends at night, we just stay together in a group, come home together," said student Kelly Bradley.

And while many students understand the risks when they move away from home, it's always good to be reminded how easy it can be to become the victim of a crime.

Baxter says a few things to keep in mind, there is always safety in numbers, never walk alone at night, and don't be overly intoxicated. He also says don't ever be afraid to make a call if you see someone of something suspicious. It's their job to keep you safe.

All three colleges in Dubuque work closely with the police department to ensure everyone is safe but it's important to be aware.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires
Follow Lauren on Twitter.

Powered by Frankly