Colleges in western Michigan — including Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University — and across the country are now back in full swing. With the influx of students, the number of reported crimes has started to rise. Due to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Police and Campus Crime Statistics Act and the Higher Education Opportunity Act, these schools are required to collect data regarding reported crimes on campus.
According to the report compiled by Kalamazoo College in 2011, burglary is now the crime reported most frequently on campus. According to the annual security reports, over the past three years, 29 burglaries were reported on K College’s campus. A burglary takes place when an individual enters a building, such as a dorm or student union, with the intention of committing a crime.
As a result, the school has started to increase safety precautions around campus, including:
- Installing locks on first floor windows
- Introducing emergency intercoms throughout the campus
- Adding security cameras outside
The school has also reportedly added lighting in certain outdoor areas, such as the parking lot near two dorms.
Surprisingly, while burglaries are now said to be the most reported crime on K College’s campus, the number of burglaries at nearby Western Michigan University has actually been decreasing over the past three years. In 2009, a total of 32 burglaries were reported on WMU’s Kalamazoo campus. One year later, that figure dropped to 23 and in 2011, only 13 burglaries were reported on campus.
Breaking and entering laws in Michigan
Whether the individual charged with committing a crime on campus is a college student or passerby, the consequences of a breaking and entering conviction can be severe.
Under Michigan law, a charge of home invasion in the first degree is reserved for situations in which an individual is accused of entering a dwelling without permission with the intent to commit a felony, larceny or assault, when either:
- The individual is “armed with a dangerous weapon,” or
- Another individual “is lawfully present” in the building at the same time
If convicted, an individual could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and be fined up to $5,000.
A charge of home invasion in the second degree is similar to the charge in the first degree; however, the individual need not be armed nor must another person be lawfully present in the building for this charge to apply. The penalties for a second degree home invasion conviction include a maximum of 15 years in prison and up to $3,000 in fines.
Finally, individuals may be charged with third degree home invasion if they are suspected of breaking and entering with the intent to commit a misdemeanor. Those convicted of such a crime can be imprisoned for up to five years and face fines of up to $2,000.
As the sentences for these crimes can be quite severe, those facing such charges would be wise to employ the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Consulting with a Kalamazoo criminal defense lawyer will ensure a strong defense is established.