In a community where violent crime is scarce, a recent homicide has garnered attention. Chief of Police Crystal Brady noted that these types of crimes are rare, with student-crimes being much more prevalent. Furthermore, Brady anticipates continuing to crack-down on student-crimes this year.
“It’s a fairly safe community when it comes to that type of violent crime,” Brady said. “We also had a homicide that happened a couple weeks ago, pretty rare for our community. We had a baby that was murdered a few years ago by the parents, but other than that, we haven’t had a homicide here since 2002.”
According to a July 30 press release from the Vermillion Police Department, they responded to a 911 call regarding a stabbing, in which the victim later died. Twenty-year-old Chezayla Liggins of Omaha, Nebraska was later arrested and charged.
While student crimes like underage alcohol, fights and sexual assault decreased over the summer, Brady anticipates an uptick in the coming months.
“Normally, September and October are the busiest time for sexual assaults, and I think it’s because oftentimes, the freshman and sophomores are involved in these,” Brady said. “They go out and start drinking and think they can consume quite a bit of alcohol. They don’t think it’s affecting them, and all of a sudden it’s affecting them quite a bit.”
Brady said the department’s main approach to deterring these types of crime involves proactive planning for large events and raising awareness of the ordinances.
“There’s so much planning ahead of time to make sure that the groups have things in place to make sure people are being identified,” Brady said. “We go out and do talks with incoming freshmen, letting them know what the alcohol ordinances are. We go downtown and do foot patrol on weekends.”
Despite the department’s attempts at educating the college students, many remain unaware of the serious consequences of using a fake ID.
“You do end up going to jail for this [false impersonation]; it is a class 1 misdemeanor… you do get arrested, and you do go to jail,” said Brady. “When people go downtown and use them, it leads to other things. It leads to binge drinking downtown, which can lead to property damage when walking home. It leads to sexual assault because they drink to the point where they don’t remember what’s happening and they’re left vulnerable… We really are trying to deter all of those things from happening.”
Students who disregard Brady’s warning can expect the same outcome as last year: a ticket.
“If they have to learn a lesson by getting a ticket, then that’s the way that it has to be,” Brady said. “We’re going to continue to do our job, and we’re going to do the exact same thing this year as we did last year.”
To learn more about the Vermillion Police Department and the city ordinances, visit https://vermillionpd.org/.
Photo submitted from the Vermillion Police Department.