Hampton U. campus crime, by the numbers

By Jov’An Benjamin

Crimes aren’t selective; they strike in the streets, hit hard in homes and carelessly creep onto college campuses.

Hampton University is a relatively safe campus, but over the past few years there have been some incidents that may paint the school in a different light.

Numbers don’t lie. Crime statistics are posted on the HU Police Department website.  From 2007 to 2009 the numbers of crimes have been somewhat high within three categories: aggravated assault, larceny and burglary.

The other categories included in this report are homicides, sexual assaults, robbery, motor vehicle theft and arson.

Dorm shooting

In 2009, nine incidents of aggravated assaults occurred on campus. Of those nine, seven were reported in the residence halls.

On April 26 of that year at 1 a.m, a former student shot a night manager and a pizza deliveryman inside of one of the university’s dorms, before turning the gun on himself.  Odane Greg Maye, the 18-year-old shooter from Richmond, walked into the freshman male dormitory Harkness Hall and opened fire.

Tameka Martin, a senior English education major from Manassas, Va., was living off-campus at the time of the shooting and said she was slightly irritated by the way the situation was handled concerning the students.

“I signed up for the emergency notification e-mail/text program,” Martin said. “Did I get a text about the shooting? Yes. Did it come 12 hours after the shooting? Yes.”

Some students also complained about delayed text messages or e-mails, but officials said they made sure they contacted faculty and students as quickly as possible.

According to the Daily Press, all three men survived the shooting and were hospitalized.  Maye was charged with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding, two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony one count of breaking and entering while armed, one count of possession of a firearm on school grounds, and one count of discharging a firearm in an occupied dwelling.

Caribbean scam

The larceny numbers fluctuated downward between 2007 and 2009. There were 114 on-campus incidents in 2007. The number dropped to 100 in 2008 and decreased again to 88 in 2009.

One explanation for the highest figures could be attributed to the Caribbean scam of 2007.

According to the Daily Press, on Feb. 4 of this year, an HU student was sentenced to 33 months for a scheme to steal funds for a 2007 trip to Jamaica.

Christopher Ryan Thomas, 24, of Sugarland, Texas — who pleaded guilty to a charge of wire fraud on Oct. 8 — was ordered to pay $230,135 in restitution. After finishing his sentence, Thomas will have three years of supervised release.

Darrian Mack, an HU class of 2008 graduate, worked closely with Thomas in the student government association. Mack was president of SGA during the time of the Caribbean scam.

“I was really disappointed in Ryan,” Mack said. “The amount of money that he was spending was eye popping.

“All I could think was ‘where is Ryan getting all of this money from?”

At one point, Mack said he was considering Thomas as a business partner for his own company, E-Mackqulent (EMQ).

“It was getting too big too quickly,” said Mack.

“I just feel bad for those students [involved] some only went to Jamaica with just a couple hundred of dollars.  A lot of people were stuck.”

Burglary numbers have zigzagged during the three-year period through 2007 and 2009.  In 2007 there were 42 counts of burglary then the numbers plunged dramatically in 2008 to only 15 cases.  However in 2009 the number increased again to 36 burglaries noted on-campus.

Students in the Advanced News Reporting and Writing class this fall read that federal law required colleges and universities to release data on crimes on the campuses by Oct. 1 each year. HU journalism students checked out the statement in their textbooks and found that the data was made available to the public via the university website.

The writer is a senior at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications