Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Early last Thursday morning, a resident of Worth dormitory opened his door to find three intruders, one of whom was armed with what is believed to have been a handgun, who asked about his identity and about drug-related activity. The three searched his room and then left without further incident.
As a result, Director of Public Safety Owen Redgrave is encouraging students to remain mindful of two approaches to campus safety: locking doors and reporting suspicious behavior. Redgrave said that he believes the community does a good job of reporting suspicious behavior to Public Safety, which investigates such reports on a regular basis, but that students remain unconvinced that the hassle of locking doors is worth the added safety.
One of the advantages Redgrave sees in a close-knit community such as Swat is the large number of community members, including faculty, who are concerned about the overall well-being of the community and who report suspicious behavior. However, he noted that it is difficult to say when a crime has been prevented.
Redgrave said that he believes this incident to be the first campus incident involving a handgun since an armed robbery four years ago.
In an email to campus RAs, the Deans suggested that students exercise discretion in providing access to the dorms for people they do not recognize. Students may refuse access to a visitor, and they are encouraged to do so if they don’t recognize the individual and s/he does not look to be an appropriate age for a college student.
The Swarthmore Police Department is doing the primary investigation for the incident, but Redgrave says that he is unaware of any significant developments at this time.