WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Tens of thousands of students are making their way to Purdue as classes will soon be starting and while many are good citizens, some bring trouble.
"Be safe, be smart. If you're smart enough to get into Purdue, you're smart enough to not do dumb things." That's the advice incoming freshman Patrick Long's mother gave him before he left home for Purdue and it's advice Lieutenant Troy Harris of the West Lafayette Police Department said is good to follow.
"When you have 10-20,000 people move in over the weekend, yeah, you're going to expect a rise in crime," Harris said.
Classes at Purdue begin Monday. That means thousands of students will be moving back to town and Harris said that means more officers will be out patrolling throughout the school year, but luckily, they don't have too much to worry about.
"We have a lot of good students, we have a lot of good people in our community. It's not such an issue of violent crime, most likely small theft, property crime type incidents," said Harris.
Harris said officers see an increase in car break-ins and damage to cars and buildings. He said most of these crimes stem from one thing: alcohol.
"For a lot of them, it's the first time away from home, unsupervised, it's the first time away from mom and dad so it's probably things they wouldn't typically do and they act out," said Harris.
One West Lafayette resident who fell victim to these added crimes from Purdue students heading back to school is Lucy Gotwals. Last year around this time, Gotwals was visiting her dad on campus and thought she was doing the right thing by locking her bicycle up by the front wheel.
"I came back and the whole body was gone, including the back wheel. All I had left was the front wheel and a lock," Gotwals said.
Lieutenant Harris said they have already had some small theft and property crimes reported. He said if you see any suspicious activity, be sure to call the West Lafayette Police Department.
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