Don't do the crime if you can't do the time
By Sara Marett
Both London City Police and Western's Police Department are welcoming students back to school by emphasizing their commitment to safety as well as a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to criminal behaviour.
Sergeant Rick Harris warns students the London Police Department will no longer issue warnings for first-time offenders they will be immediately fined or charged.
Western's police department works co-operatively with the LPD and stands behind its zero-tolerance attitude, said Const. Wendy McGowan, adding campus police need to be taken seriously by students. "We are not going out there with the intent to charge people, but we will do so in order to maintain a safe environment."
Off campus, the LPD wants students to be aware there is a high price to pay for inappropriate behaviour. Harris said students must act responsibly, especially when drinking, to avoid unnecessary consequences.
"We want people to know they are not immune from the law because they are students. They will be treated as adults who should know the difference between right and wrong," he said.
Harris explained there are numerous officers assigned to patrol heavily populated areas like Richmond row at night between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. who will not be called away from their position.
"It is easy to have between 2,500 and 3,000 people in a confined area, which can create a volatile situation," Harris said, adding the LPD works closely with the management staff of bars and the liquor licence inspector to promote responsible drinking.
Harris said when going to a bar it is best to be in a group, especially when going home for the night. For those who are drinking, make sure there is a designated driver or take a cab home. He warned not to accept mixed drinks at house parties as the availability of drugs such as Rohypnol, labelled "the rape drug" has recently increased.
The same rules apply when going out on campus, said McGowan, emphasizing the law against having open liquor on campus. She also encourages students to use Foot Patrol if walking alone to reduce the possibility of assault.
Foot Patrol coordinator Dave Crombie said the walk home service will accompany students anywhere on Western's campus and some nearby student neighbourhoods. The service is open seven days a week.