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College students may hesitate to report campus crimes

Now that college classes are back in full swing, so is campus crime. It is not unusual for students to find themselves in situations they do not know how to handle, including drugs or alcohol.

Those who are new to college life seek approval from their peers. They want to “belong,” and thus they are reluctant to report any criminal activities they observe or find themselves involved in.

Harassment and threats

Let us say your son is walking across campus after dark. Two men approach and demand his wallet. They threaten him with harm, but the men run off when another person comes into view. Your son has had a few beers and is not sure he can describe the men and explain what happened accurately, so the incident goes unreported.

Campus theft

Students will contact the authorities when someone steals something major from them, such as a car, but a minor theft often goes unreported. Thieves steal cell phones every day, but victims may feel it is a waste of time to report such a theft because it is unlikely the police will ever recover the phone.

Drugs and alcohol

Drugs and alcohol are readily available on any college campus, and you worry that your child will not be able to resist the temptation to drink or use drugs. This is a legitimate concern. On the other hand, law enforcement could arrest your son just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He could have alerted authorities about an event or party where students were exchanging drugs and money, but he kept quiet for fear of his peers ostracizing him.

Seeking help

Perhaps your child has found the courage to report an unlawful happening on campus, which would be a good thing. However, if you find that your son or daughter has become involved with the wrong element, it is time for a serious talk about the repercussions. If the involvement has proceeded to the point that law enforcement has arrested him or her for possession of a controlled substance, underage drinking or another campus offense, your child will need legal help. A criminal defense attorney experienced with cases involving college students can make a difference in a situation that has the potential of disrupting a young person’s future.

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