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Published: Thursday, February 15, 2018 @ 5:50 PM
— Your local library may be quiet and full of resources, but it is safe? We tracked a growing number of disturbing incidents at Miami Valley libraries and looked at the changes that have been made to keep neighborhood crime from coming inside their walls.
"When you're inviting in a cross section of society then things can happen or trickle in, that we don't want," said Allison Peck of the Clark County Public Library.
When a crime is involved, Peck said security guards are there to handle it.
"Those are taken care of if not through our security personnel, then we will call the police out to handle those," Peck said. "So we really don't want to bar people. That's the last thing we want to do."
Keeping the library open for everyone, yet safe, is a delicate and difficult balance said Tim Kambitsch, Executive Director of the Dayton Metro Library. He showed us why the Metro Library's new Main building in downtown Dayton is so open and full of windows and glass.
"We wanted to make certain that as we designed the building we would do things like make certain our service desks and where are guards are positioned can visually cover larger spaces," said Kambitsch.
Last year at this facility alone, we learned that the library removed 279 people. Another 35 were charged with trespassing and banned from entering the library.
"When they are trespassed out they cannot come back in," said Kambitsch. "If they do come back, then we will call the police and they will end up getting arrested."
For example, Matthew Rhinehart was caught exposing himself to people in the Dayton Metro Library and a homeless, convicted sexual predator, Joseph Cagle, was caught there and arrested. In Springfield, Crista Heckman was caught shooting up heroin a library restroom. Police said she put the heroin in her mouth and tried to swallow it when they arrived to arrest her. The restroom is also where Stephanie Parker was found overdosed and with a needle stuck in her arm. When she was revived, she was banned from the library.
"When you have an environment where people can come and go at will and there's no point-to-point accountability once they enter, then you're going to ask for people who are coming in to do nefarious things," said Craig Hoschouer, President of PLE Group in Kettering.
So what can you do to keep your family safe? Security expert Craig Hoschouer said you need to stay alert.