A publication released yesterday by the University’s Department of Public Safety reported that overall campus crime levels for 2008 were on par with 2007 levels, though there were noticeable changes in a few areas.

The 2009-2010 Campus Safety Handbook — required by law under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act — includes statistics of campus and area crime reported to legal authorities and campus officials.

Some of the changes in crime levels from 2007 included the number of motor vehicle theft, drug law arrests and liquor law arrests, citations and violations in residence halls categories.

Motor vehicle thefts on campus reported to University Police were up from 4 in 2007 to 17 in 2008.

Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Diane Brown explained that although the number is higher than last year, the category is not limited to theft of automobiles. The category also includes theft or improper allocation of golf carts and Gators — small utility vehicles used frequently around campus.

In contrast, drug law arrests on campus were down a significant amount, falling from 79 in 2007 to 56 last year.

Brown said she wasn’t sure why the number had fallen, since University Police weren’t handling violations differently than in 2007 or running any special campaigns against drug use last year.

Though overall liquor law violations, arrests and citations on campus saw only a modest increase — from 952 reports to University Police, University Housing and the Office of Student Conflict Resolution in 2007 to 1,077 reports to the same agencies in 2008 — the number of alcohol-related reports increased substantially in the residence halls.

Residence hall liquor law violations, which are included in the overall number of liquor law incidents listed above, increased from 440 in 2007 to 526 in 2008. During the same time, liquor law arrests and citations increased from 135 to 240.

Asked about the fluctuation, Brown said she wasn’t certain what caused the increase, but said several factors influence the number of alcohol violations, citations and arrests campus-wide from year to year.

“(The number) also includes alcohol violations at the stadium and some of the variance will depend on how many home footballs games we had that year,” Brown said, adding that the number of football games played at 3:30 p.m. can also influence the number of alcohol-related reports.

Brown said the number of incidents could vary not only on the number of actual incidents, but also on the number of reported incidents. However, Brown said DPS is working on ways to increase student responsiveness to crimes.

“It’s not just a police issue to help try to keep our campus safe, we all need to contribute and part of that contribution is making sure that if you see something suspicious that you call police right away rather than just sort of fluffing it off,” Brown said.

Brown also said DPS is engaging in a “10 Point Pledge” campaign to raise awareness of how DPS can assist victims of crimes since many cases go unreported, especially sexual assaults.

“I still believe that there are crimes committed that aren’t reported and I would say that particularly of sexual assault,” Brown said. “We have to continue to work to help people understand the importance of being able to report (sexual assault) and the protections that can be placed around a survivor who is making the report.”

Brown said students can also reduce campus crime by securing their belongings and reporting any suspicious behavior.

“Usually if your instinct is telling you that something isn’t quite right … chances are something’s not right,” Brown said, adding that making a phone call to DPS alerts University Police of the situation and can help control incidents on campus.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.