Local events spark crime

With large events bringing an increasing number of visitors to Tallahassee, misconduct that Officer David McCranie refers to as “crimes of opportunity,” are becoming more prevalent in Leon County.

McCranie, the Tallahassee Police Department spokesman explained the reasoning for this.

“As the population increases we see a rise in reported crime because of the potential for more crimes to occur,” McCranie said.

He said this can be attributed to the how close recent crowd-gathering events like Florida A&M University’s Homecoming Week and Florida State University’s homecoming festivities occurred to one another.

Leon County’s Tallahassee Online Police Statistics system stated that there have been 222 reported offences in the FAMU Impact Area in the past 60 days.

Burglary was one of the leading property crimes with 2103 incidents reported in the past two months, while assault and battery lead personal crimes with 1349 incidents.

The statistics stated that the latter part of fall 2008 can usually bring higher frequency in crime and many students are aware of the rising rates. Among those students is Trey Williams, 21, a third year healthcare management student from Jacksonville, who said the overflow of people from other cities increase crime.

“Because of all of the people down here from other cities people feel they can commit crimes here and go back to their home cities,” Williams said.

The fluctuation of crime throughout the academic year has a strong and very positive correlation with the rise and fall of Tallahassee’s college population, McCranie said.

“Other times when crime spikes are holidays, when students are away,” he said. “It may be a fellow student taking advantage.”

Amongst different high points of the year, the correlation between the student population during the summer and crime in Tallahassee is among the strongest, according to McCranie.

“In the summer there tends to be fewer reports,” he said.

McCranie named the population decrease as the main factor. The spokesman noted a lack of alertness and erratic behavior as a few of the leading causes of on-campus crime.

He said this includes drinking alcoholic beverages and forgetting to lock homes and vehicles.

One of the larger concerns on the horizon for crimes of opportunity is FSU’s homecoming, McCranie said.

Among other preparations for the increase in visitors, TPD made a stronger presence on roads and main streets, he said.

“We have an operational plan that provides added staff,” McCranie said.

He stressed higher numbers of officers and efforts to block and control traffic patterns in the coming days.

“[On] Tennessee Street we establish traffic patterns.  Sometimes we direct traffic, and close turning lanes,” McCranie said.

Students have noticed the recent rise in police presence.

Dwight Cusseaux, a third year business administration student from Tampa, said he has noticed more enforcement on campus.

“I’ve seen more police cars around, but haven’t seen more cops, so I guess it’s working,” he said.