While the majority of University of Nebraska-Lincoln students were gone after classes went completely virtual in March, 216 crimes have been reported to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Police Department since April 1.
The most frequent crimes reported from April 1 to Aug. 15 were alcohol of the “drunk” category with 21 reports and vandalism of the “other” category with 18 reports. Disturbance of the “other” category had 14 reports, outside police service of the “other” category had 14 reports and driving while intoxicated had 12 reports, according to the UNLPD Daily Crime & Fire Log.
A UNL staff member reported a hand sanitizer station as stolen on Aug. 12 at Mussehl Hall on UNL’s East Campus, according to John Backer, police operations captain for UNLPD.
Backer said it looked like the chain that was used to secure the hand sanitizer station was cut and the station was taken.
“The parts that are used to build these stations aren’t valuable,” Backer said. “They’re PVC pipe.”
Backer said the lock was worth about $20 and the hand sanitizer station was valued at $100.
UNLPD officers previously banned a non-university affiliated male from the UNL campus, but the male was seen again on campus by UNLPD officers on July 24, according to Backer. Backer said UNLPD officers recognized him and went to contact him, but he ran.
Backer said the officers were able to catch up with him and he was cited and logged for criminal trespassing of the second degree, and also cited and released for possession of drug paraphernalia and obstructing an officer.
Two UNL students were flying a drone on UNL campus near Memorial Stadium on July 23, according to Backer.
Backer said UNLPD officers encounter people flying drones on campus from time to time, typically on Husker football game days.
Even if an individual has their license to fly drones, they still need to receive university permission to fly them on campus, according to Backer. He said the two students claimed it was for a project, so UNLPD officers contacted the faculty member in charge of the project to help keep the incident from happening again.
A UNL faculty member reported on June 22 that they had received a concerning comment on one of their social media accounts, according to Backer.
Backer said the comment made a derogatory statement about the faculty member’s race. However, the faculty member did not want to pursue criminal charges because UNLPD found that the person who commented was not affiliated with UNL and not local.
On April 27, at Architecture Hall, a CO₂ laser cutter was being used to cut plastic parts when the table of the machine had caught on fire, according to Backer. A staff member was able to put it out with a fire extinguisher.
The fire caused about $500 worth of damage to the laser cutting table, according to Backer.
UNLPD received a report on April 26 of a student who was called by someone pretending to be a law enforcement officer who said she needed to pay money to avoid being arrested, according to Backer.
Backer said the caller had collected information from an accident report involving the student to sound credible. Crash reports are public information, so anyone can look them up and find the name, the car and other information surrounding the accident, according to Backer.
The student bought a Green Dot prepaid gift card and gave the caller the card number over the phone, according to Backer. He said it is important to know that law enforcement officers will contact by mail or in-person regarding an arrest warrant. The case remains open, according to Backer.
On April 4, a belated sexual assault was reported to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Police Department, according to the crime log. Backer said the sexual assault was reported to have occurred at the University Suites and the individuals named as responsible by the victim are not UNL students. The case is still on-going and no arrests have been made, according to Backer.
Backer said when it comes to sexual assault cases they can take months, sometimes upwards of a year to fully investigate due to challenges like lack of evidence and an inability to identify the perpetrator.