Indiana Daily Student

Looking back at Little 500 weekend crime, looking forward to staying safe this weekend

Historic Little 500 crime numbers

Over the last five years of Little 500 weeks, the IU Police Department responded to an average of 131 calls per week.

An average of 69, or 53 percent, of those calls came in over the weekend of the race. In comparison, IUPD received 28 calls last weekend.

Of the weekend calls, an average of 37 percent were in relation to alcohol offenses.

Each weekend of the last five Little 500 races, IUPD received at least one call about a sex crime.

Three rapes were reported to the Bloomington Police Department over last year’s Little 500 weekend.

In 2017, BPD reported 42 arrests over Little 500 weekend. Indiana State Police reported 114. Excise police reported arresting or citing 151.

Murder during Little 500

IU student Hannah Wilson, a senior at the time, went missing during Little 500 weekend in 2015. She was later found bludgeoned to death. Wilson was 22 at the time of her death.

Daniel Messel was convicted of her murder. The Bloomington man was sentenced to 80 years in prison for the Wilson case and was charged in relation to an alleged 2012 rape of a different IU student in fall 2016.

Don’t fear police, IUPD says

IUPD Capt. Craig Munroe said students should not hesitate to call IUPD if they’re at a party and someone is causing problems. He said it’s better to call than to wait for police to show up later.

He also encouraged students to familiarize themselves with Indiana’s Lifeline Law and always be respectful toward police.

“We're out there trying to protect you,” he said. “What it’s really all about is taking care of each other.”

Plan to make this weekend a safe one

Little 500 weekend was not heavily planned for or policed until 1991, BPD Capt. Steve Kellams said.

Riots and arrests that year got out of control, he said. Since then, agencies statewide coordinate to prevent something like that happening again.

“We’ve gotten Little Five down to a science,” Kellams said.

Agencies involved in the weekend include BPD, IUPD, the Indiana State Police, the Indiana State Excise Police, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, the Monroe County Correctional Center, the Bloomington Hospital Ambulance Service, the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office and the Department of Natural Resources.

Many of these groups met Monday to discuss procedures for this year’s upcoming Little 500.

A remote booking location for non-violent offenders, generally those ticketed for alcohol-related offenses, will be set up at BPD’s headquarters on Third Street. This will allow fewer trips to and from the jail throughout the weekend.

Police will be stationed on foot in what Kellams called Bloomington’s usual problem areas during Little 500 weekend — the spaces around the Bill Armstrong stadium and the bar district.

BPD will also have an emergency management room where representatives from various state agencies are invited to meet and ensure everyone is on the same page throughout the weekend.

Munroe said IUPD will monitor activities registered on campus all week. Over the weekend, there will be two officers in each IUPD and BPD patrol car, and police from other campuses will come to Bloomington to help staff shifts.

Both BPD and IUPD will have all hands on deck, according to the captains. Officers are not allowed to take time off during Little 500 weekend.

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