This past week, Campus Safety have received reports of two separate cases of voyeurism being committed, the victims being two female students. Paul Neel, director of Campus Safety, sent out the following release to students on Feb. 3
The Bethel Campus Safety Department is investigating two reported incidents of voyeurism. The first incident occurred in the late evening of January 31st 2017. The complainant reported she was in a bathroom stall in Bowen Library and observed a male attempting to look into the stall. The suspect left when she yelled at him. The suspect was described as a while male with dark hair, he was wearing green and blue tennis shoes. The second incident occurred in the early hours of February 3rd, 2017. The complainant reported that she observed a male looking at her through a gap in her blinds. The suspect fled the campus and headed south after the complainant yelled. The suspect was described by witnesses as a male, approximately in his 30s, with facial hair. He was wearing a dark hoodie. If anyone has information regarding either of these incidents, please contact the Campus Safety office at 574-807-7500. Some safety tips:Both investigations are still in the early stages of gathering information and evidence. “We’re trying to see if the two incidents are connected,” said Neel in an interview earlier today. “We are checking everything that we have, but we don’t seem to have any camera footage of the suspect or anything to go off of at this point.” There has been no confirmation as to whether or not the incidents have the same suspect or are disconnected. “There is that possibility, but there’s been nothing yet that makes us believe for sure that these two incidents have the same suspect,” said Neel. “We’re not ruling that out at this point, but we haven’t seen anything to make us believe for certain that that is the case so far.” Neel said that incidents of voyeurism are not typically common at Bethel College, but they have happened over the years. “It’s been quite some time,” said Neel. “We haven’t had any cases like this in a number of years. It’s unfortunate that these events happen from time to time at different levels. We’re an open campus, so a lot of people come and go. That carries with it some added responsibilities to be careful and take care of ourselves, because there’s no real barriers for people coming onto campus.” Neel expressed how incidents of voyeurism typically occur with women as victims, but men can be vulnerable to these types of events as well. He encouraged women, in particular those who are living on campus, to be aware of their surroundings and be cautious. “We are asking students to not chase suspicious people,” said Neel. “We encourage students to call us right away.” He went on, “Let somebody know when you are leaving to go to a place and where you are going. Also, it’s always safer to travel in groups of 2 or 3 at least, especially at night.” Neel explained that incidents of voyeurism typically can come in waves of occurrences, but he has no reason to believe that future threats are likely at this time. “I don’t see this as a trend of future voyeurism incidents to come,” said Neel. “We are monitoring it. (A suspect) who gets involved with incidents of voyeurism typically continues to do it until they get stopped. So if it is the same person who peeped on both women, then the chance of them doing it again here or somewhere else only becomes more likely with every incident that goes on.” Campus Safety is also working with local police in an effort to find the suspect(s) responsible. “If we were to engage the (suspect), who we believed to be responsible and fit the descriptions given by the victims, then we would detain them until the police came,” said Neel. Neel made it clear that Campus Safety is making adjustments for approaching further situations, but is unable to go into specifics due to confidentiality. “We’ve made some slight variances to our patrol routes and are continuing to work on deterrence,” said Neel, “but ultimately we’re working to make it so that these crimes don’t happen in the first place.” As the investigations continue, Neel hopes to spread caution and awareness rather than fear. “I would say that this is something that we all need to be aware of, but it’s not an imminent threat at this point,” said Neel. “As far as I know, the suspect has not been physically aggressive to anyone, which is a better sign. I would say that there is some threat, but we don’t want people to be fearful either.”
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Be conscious of who is in the area around you
- Be sure that windows and blinds are properly secured. Especially if you live on the ground level.
- If you see any suspicious persons or activity, contact the Campus Safety office immediately at 574-807-750