Football prowess is not the only difference between Michigan
State University and the University of Michigan – their reputations
also differ for fans’ post-game behavior.

Riots after the basketball team’s tournament loss in March
earned Michigan State fans a reputation for violence, prompting
discussion of riot preparation for Saturday’s game, The State News
reported. But much to the surprise of some students, however, no
couches burned after the Wolverines’ football victory.

Michigan State junior Andy Zemke said his school acquired a bad
reputation after last year’s riots. “Before I came to school here I
never heard anything about it being a riot school or a party
school. Now I think we are kind of represented as being those
things, especially after the basketball stuff last season,” he
said.

“I’ve never seen anything burning around campus. I could
understand where people would get the idea,” said Zemke, who said
he saw the riots but did not participate in them.

In fact, the differences between crime rates at the two schools
will probably surprise many Wolverines. Violent crime rates at the
University of Michigan were higher in 2002 than rates at Michigan
State, but alcohol violations at Michigan State outnumber those at
Michigan.

Campus crime statistics reported by the Michigan State
University Department of Police and Public Safety showed seven
reported robberies and 136 reported burglaries in 2002, while
statistics published by the University of Michigan Department of
Public Safety showed 13 robberies and 150 burglaries.

On game day this year, however, Michigan State saw more arrests
than the University of Michigan did during last year’s matchup.

The Michigan State website listed all police reports filed on
Saturday. The blotter indicated 14 arrests for minor in possession
of alcohol, 22 arrests for drunk and disorderly conduct and 36
citations for violation of school’s ordinances at Spartan
Stadium.

During the game against Michigan State last year at the Big
House, police officers arrested 10 people and issued citations to
44.

Overall, University crime is at higher levels despite its
rival’s larger student population. Michigan State had 44,542
students in fall 2002, compared to 38,972 students attending the
University.

Michigan State spokeswoman Florene McGlothian-Taylor said one
reason for the crime-rate difference could be the Michigan State
police force’s extensive community-policing network.

“One of the things we do here is that we are heavily involved in
community team policing,” she said. “We work very closely with the
community in which we work.” She said community policing includes
putting satellite police offices in residence halls so officers are
actually based out of campus buildings. Police officers also
conduct education programs about alcohol awareness. “We’ve done a
program in every single residence hall about alcohol,”
McGlothian-Taylor said.

DPS spokeswoman Diane Brown cited other reasons for the higher
per-student crime levels at the University. She said one factor is
the presence of the University Hospital. “The hospital sees 1
million visitors per year,” she said. Brown added that larcenies
and accidents seemed more frequent at the hospital than elsewhere
on campus, but said she did not have numbers to back this up.

Brown said another factor is attendance at Michigan Stadium
versus attendance at Spartan Stadium. The Big House capacity is
107,501 whereas Spartan Stadium seats 72,027.

The main reason Brown cited for relatively higher crime at the
University was that the campus is highly integrated into the city
of Ann Arbor, whereas Michigan State’s campus is more
self-contained and set apart from East Lansing. Brown said it is
easy for a person to commit a crime on campus, then step across the
street into another jurisdiction and blend into the crowd on the
sidewalk.

She said the University campus sees more nonaffiliated visitors,
such as people cutting through North Campus to get to residential
areas.

An area in which Michigan State crime rates are decidedly higher
than University crime rates are liquor, drug and weapons
violations. The 2002 crime statistics from Michigan State showed
686 liquor violations reported on campus and 138 drug violations.
The University of Michigan had 485 liquor violations and 66 drug
violations. Michigan State reported 25 instances of illegal
weapons; the University reported nine.

McGlothian-Taylor said these higher rates were due to Michigan
State’s large residence hall population. “I guess compared to the
number of students here, it’s not that high,” she said. “We have
the largest residence hall program in the country.”

Brown said the University of Michigan has the sixth-largest
residence hall population in the country. Including family housing
in the statistics would bump the University to number two, she
added. “These numbers, in our estimation, would be a very large
factor,” Brown said. “Commuter schools have less of a problem on
campus.”

McGlothian-Taylor added that Michigan State sprawls over 5,200
acres, posing some policing challenges not faced by the University,
which weighs in at 3,177 acres. “You have to go back to looking at
the size of the universities. MSU is like a city within itself,”
she said. “It’s really a large campus.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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