PSU looks back at campus crime

Over summer term, the Campus Public Safety Office was very busy—making arrests, responding to a variety of calls and implementing the new after hours access procedures.

One such arrest stemmed from a harassment report. A timely warning released July 1 relayed information that a student had been physically harassed by another student in the elevator of the University Center Building.

“The suspect in this case was arrested within four hours [of the initial report],” Zerzan said.

On Aug. 20, a call came into CPSO reporting a suspicious package under a vehicle in Parking Structure 3 at SW 12th Ave. and SW Mill St. The Portland Police Bureau Bomb Squad was called to respond to the scene as well as assist in determining the nature of the package.

“Their investigation revealed the package thankfully wasn’t a bomb. It was a car battery and battery charger in a duffel bag,” Zerzan said.

A PSU Alert was sent out to students on Aug. 26 regarding the robbery of the US Bank, located near campus at 410 S.W. Harrison St., by a suspect known as the “Where’s Waldo Bandit,” later identified as Ryan Homsley.

Homsley had just been released from prison the week before for a bank robbery he committed in 2010. He was believed to have entered Smith Memorial Student Union during his flight from the area, Zerzan said.

“[Homsley] was tracked by PPB into Smith, so the building was cleared while officers searched the area,” he said.

Homsley wasn’t apprehended on campus, but was located in Aloha the next day and arrested on the charge of robbery as well as violation to his federal probation, according to local news reports.

On top of all of this activity, CPSO also restricted after hours access to buildings on campus at the beginning of summer term.

“I think it’s helped a lot. We don’t have all the data analyzed yet, but we had no person-on-person crime in our buildings over summer term,” Zerzan said.

Zerzan mentioned, however, that with more people needing after-hours access during fall term, issues are likely to crop up.

“We are continuing to look at after-hours access and are working with facilities to continue to expand the electronics involved in the security access,” he said. “There is a much greater use of campus during fall term [than summer term], so we expect there to be some mid-course [adjustments].”

The Task Force on Campus Safety will also be reconvening this term, and PSU President Wiewel’s expectations for the TFCS are outlined in a letter from Wiewel dated April 25, when the task force was first introduced:

“. . . I would ask the TFCS to share its preliminary finding and recommendations with the same stakeholder groups it interviewed at the start of this process, for feedback and reaction. I then would suggest that the TFCS amend their preliminary findings and recommendations to reflect feedback it receives, so that by November 1, 2013, the TFCS could deliver to me a final set of findings and responsive recommendations regarding safety at PSU.”

Jackie Balzer, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, added that the Task Force has been actively working on campus safety this spring and summer.

“Throughout the spring and summer the Task Force, made up of students, staff and faculty, has sponsored open forums and met with numerous campus community members,” Balzer said. “This coming fall, the Task Force will present a summary of its finds and a series of recommendations to the [campus] President.”

For more information on CPSO, including timely warning information, visit their website at For more information on the TFCS, including President Wiewel’s letter, visit their website at