Multiple security alerts cause questions
When deciding to go to college in Maine, most Bowdoin students probably figured that the biggest problem campus security would have to deal with was an overdue library book. But so far this year, there have been four campus-wide security alerts. Three of the four alerts have dealt with off-campus people coming onto the school grounds.
The most recent security alert was sent out three days ago after three reports had been filed about a suspicious male who has been stealing money from wallets and taking other items from the Dayton Arena locker room, the squash courts' locker room, and the locker room at Morrell Gym. The suspect is described as "a white male in his thirties, about 5'9", with a full red beard, with his belly hanging over his belt."
Although the individual has not yet been identified, Security is still investigating. Under these circumstances, the officers have three ways of addressing the crime. The first is to talk to the witnesses or the people that reported the incident to try to come up with a computer-generated composite sketch based on facial features that can be remembered. Next, Security tries to match the face up with a Mid Coast Crime Intelligence Network book that features photo lineups of local people who have been arrested. The last step of the investigation is to send out a security alert so that if the individual comes onto campus again the community will be aware of the potential threat and call security to the location.
When an incident is reported to Security, it is not reported to the Brunswick Police. Security can assist an individual who is the victim of a crime in contacting Brunswick Police. If College property has been stolen, damaged, or vandalized, then the police department is immediately notified. Police and Security work very closely to keep Brunswick community safe.
Director of Security Bruce Boucher describes most crimes at Bowdoin as "crimes of opportunity" that are relatively easy to prevent. "Faculty, staff, and students need to take precautions to prevent themselves from being victims of thefts. They need to make sure not to leave their lockers, room, and vehicles unlocked," Boucher said.
Ten days ago another Security Alert was sent out about an individual who supposedly came onto Bowdoin campus twice last spring and once this year looking for a student to paint a nude portrait of him. This man is described as "a short Caucasian male in his mid 30s, with brown hair, and bad and missing teeth." Security is working with the Brunswick Police to identify this person as well.
"Bowdoin and Brunswick are not separated. Colby is located on a hill and Middlebury is a little separated from the town, however, people from the Brunswick community move through campus all the time which inevitably creates some problems," Dean of Student Affairs Craig Bradley said. Bowdoin's athletic facilities, and museums are open to local people.
The two other security alerts sent out this year were about the poster of a Nepali god that was stolen from the Visual Arts Center. After the security report was sent out the poster was returned. The first security alert of the year went out during orientation about a 52 year-old man named Dwight Raymond Lindblom. Lindblom was a registered sex offender in Oregon and had moved to Brunswick, staying in local shelters. He came on campus and made "unsolicited and unsuitable remarks" to a Bowdoin employee. After the alert was sent out, Lindblom was banned from campus and was later arrested for harassing a person in Portland. Lindblom is currently in jail in Portland.
Three minor problems that Security has had to deal with this year include rowdiness, bicycle thefts, and parking. Parking is obviously Security's number one problem. From November 15 to April 15 students are not allowed to park on the streets overnight. Many times bicycle thefts have simply been misunderstandings between students when one student borrows a bike from a friend or roommate and the individual who owns the bike believes it is stolen.
There have been a couple of reported incidents of rowdiness, although Boucher believes that only one might have involved someone from off campus. "For some reason students this year have been reluctant to cooperate with us," he said. "Maybe they don't want to get another student in trouble, but sometimes we don't even know if the incident necessarily involves another student."
There have been no reports of sexual assault. "Just because incidents aren't reported doesn't mean that they might not be happening," Boucher said.
Another fairly large problem that Security has faced in the past two years is Brunswick residents trying to attend weekend parties on campus. Boucher has found that this year there haven't been as many problems with this. Security encourages the hosts of parties to check for student identification cards and will immediately respond to any call from students who have a problem with a person at a party and would like them to be escorted out.
"You can help Security by remembering that if you see a suspicious person to remember what they look like, how they are dressed, if they get into a vehicle, what their license plate number is, and in which direction they drive," he said. "Don't wait until you get back to your room to call us. Use emergency phones and take precautions so that you don't become a victim of a crime."
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