September 27, 2022

Public Safety Officer discusses recent crimes on campus

From an apartment break-in to an alleged knife chase, Capital students have received their fair share of concerning emails regarding crimes on campus this past month. Public Safety Chief of Police Scott Kunkle provides more information on these incidents and shares safety tips.

Capital students received crime notification emails from Capital Communications on Aug. 16 and Aug. 25 regarding a series of crimes happening on or near campus.

The first email sent on Aug. 16 details a Capital University Apartments break-in that occurred in the early morning of Aug. 15. According to the email, a male suspect broke into a rear door of the apartment, stole a desktop computer, and fled from officers. Capital police were able to catch the suspect in the parking lot, and the 54-year-old was charged with burglary and theft.

The first email additionally discusses Kia and Hyundai car thefts happening around central Ohio, including on Capital’s campus, and shares some car theft prevention tips. 

The second email sent on Aug. 25 details an incident that occured around 9 p.m. on Aug. 24. According to the email, two Capital students reported being chased and threatened near Schneider Park. The email states several young male juveniles chased the students to their residence and threatened them. It is said that “one of the boys allegedly had a knife in his hand.”  

Public Safety Chief of Police Scott Kunkle gave more information regarding these events, starting with the car thefts.

“They’re mostly juveniles doing it, about 13 years of age. We actually have some on video. It takes them less than three minutes to get into the car,” Kunkle said. “Just a couple weeks ago we had a couple Kia thefts again. Our dispatchers noticed it on our camera system of the parking lot. We were able to see the suspect and we ended up catching her. It happened to be a 13-year-old girl.”

Kunkle stated the 13-year-old was arrested by Capital police officers. 

Regarding the Capital students allegedly being chased and threatened, Kunkle shared more information about the incident. 

“I think on that one situation that happened on Sheridan last month, where they chased the girls, that was again juveniles. They’re guessing around 10 years old. So they were very young,” Kunkle said. 

According to Kunkle, the investigation did not progress very far.

“They never found the suspects. Like I said they were young kids. There was never a knife found or anything. Supposedly they had one … Bexley police took over the investigation, but they weren’t able to find them,” Kunkle said. 

In light of these recent events, Kunkle shares some safety tips, starting with how to be vigilant against a housing break-in. 

“Don’t prop the doors open … for housing leave your porch lights on. Report any suspicious activity … If somebody’s hanging around, give us [Public Safety] a call. If you see a vehicle parked there that doesn’t look right, once again just give us a call,” Kunkle said. 

As for the Kia and Hyundai thefts, Kunkle believes “the club,” an anti-theft device, is the best option to protect yourself against car theft. 

“The biggest recommendation I have for the Kias and Hyundais is to get one of those clubs. You can get them at Walmart for about $35 or $40 dollars,” Kunkle said. “From what I’m told they can’t take your car [because] it goes across your steering wheel and down to your gas pedal. That’s the best defense from the Kia thefts.”

As a general tip, Kunkle suggests staying off the nearby bike paths at night.

“Just avoid that at night time. Walk in groups. Stay in well-lit areas,” Kunkle said. 

Most importantly, Kunkle urges students to contact Public Safety if they see anything suspicious. 

“If you see something, say something. I think a lot of people are afraid they’re going to bother us because we’re a police department, but we’re here 24 hours [a day], so it doesn’t matter if it’s three or four in the morning. If somebody sees somebody hanging around their apartment or their housing, call us,” Kunkle said. 

Additionally, the Guardian app is a helpful tool for students. The app includes many different safety-focused features, including anonymous text messaging (which allows students to anonymously text message the public safety dispatchers, and the dispatchers can message back). 

The Public Safety department is making some changes to help keep students safe as well. 

“I just got approved to hire a new officer, so as soon as I get him through our hiring process we’ll have an extra officer on board to help with visibility. I’ve [also] increased our patrols,” Kunkle said. “Last summer I purchased a golf cart, which sounds kind of silly, but it really helps because you can get anywhere on campus [much] faster than a car [would]. My officers and I do foot patrol (as well as vehicle patrol) to try to enhance the safety and security [of campus].”

In the near future, Kunkle will be holding an event to address the Capital community’s needs and concerns.

“Within the next month or two I’m going to have a ‘Coffee with a Cop’ event. So, if anybody has any safety concerns or issues, come meet me, come see me,” Kunkle said. “I want to hear students’ perspectives, [and] I want the community to feel safe.”

With a break-in, alleged menacing, and car thefts disturbing Capital’s campus this past month, students and public safety being vigilant and working together can help improve safety on campus. 

Public Safety can be contacted at (614) 236-6011. 

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