By Lauren Huneycutt
According to UNR’s Daily Crime Log on the university website, theft is the most common crime to occur on campus. The Crime Log shows the location, type and time of crimes committed on and around campus.
Students who are signed up to receive emergency alerts from campus police, received a text message last week regarding an armed robbery in the Manzanita bowl area. The text message indicated that an individual was robbed by five men with a knife, but was not injured. Another text message and email soon followed explaining this robbery did not actually happen.
“We have had students make false reports, but nothing to the extent of the most recent one,” said Commander Todd Renwick.
Renwick has been with the University of Nevada, Reno police force for 15 years. Police Services is made up of multiple departments. There are 23 police officers, as well as reserve officers, student cadets, civilian staff and emergency operations, making the department 63 people in total.
“One of the biggest changes over the years has been technology,” said Renwick.
The types of crimes committed have evolved. There are more internet scams and crime reports made over the internet, but with current technology it is also easier for the police to keep students and staff up-to-date through text messages and follow-up emails.
“We only have 160 characters to get our point across with a text,” Renwick said, “so we always give more details in the emails we send. We take care of all of the social media here internally.”
Moving through standard procedure when something like this is reported takes a lot of manpower and time.
“An armed robbery, in our minds, is serious and a potential immediate threat,” Renwick said. “That is when we send the text messages. We want to keep the campus community safe and informed.”
The individual reported the incident four days after it allegedly happened.
When the victim made the initial report, he gave no indication he could potentially be lying, so campus police began to pull video footage from the businesses that surround the Manzanita bowl and opened an investigation. Detectives did a follow-up interview with the victim a few days later.
“There were just a lot of things that weren’t making sense in his story,” said Renwick. “Upon the detective’s questioning, the victim indicated he had lied.”
Lying to the police and filing a false police report are actions prohibited by law. The police have the discretion to decide whether or not to press charges on an individual after such a crime has been committed.
“Not all false reports can be proven,” said Renwick. “Unless (like in this case) they confess and tell you they lied.”
“We have very low violent crime on campus, therefore it is generally safe,” Renwick said. “We do, however, want to educate students to safeguard their property. As a student, [you are] more likely to be the victim of a theft, than anything else.”
According to Renwick, the individual who made this particular armed robbery report was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for filing a false police report and will face the consequences of his actions in court.