Liquor, drug-related police reports take a dive

By Chase Reavis
The Razorback Reporter

Reports of liquor- and drug-related arrests and violations decreased at the UofA between 2015 and 2016, according to the 2016 Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Report.
Law mandates that all universities and colleges that participate in federal financial aid programs release the Clery Report annually, which gathers statistics of crime, institutional policies, crime prevention, and sexual assault among other things, according to the UAPD website.
Most of the crimes reported in the Clery Report show that the UofA’s reported crime has remained consistent over the years, Capt. Gary Crain said. The three exceptions to that are liquor law arrests, burglary and motor vehicle theft.
Liquor law arrests increased significantly in the past few years, Crain said. This is because of the change in Arkansas law that allowed police to arrest anyone under 21 years old with alcohol in their body.
In 2012, police made 31 liquor law arrests. On average, the number of liquor law arrests climbed 76.4 percent per year since then, but then the numbers took a dip between 2015 and 2016 by 25.3 percent, from 154 to 115 arrests.
“Before the change, a person underage who was contacted by police was not arrested if there was no container on their person,” Crain said. “After the change, the aroma of an alcoholic beverage on the breath was enough to make the arrest.”
Liquor law violations referred to school officials for disciplinary action decreased by nearly 45 percent from 693 in 2015 to 384 in 2016 despite no known change in policy, Crain said.
Burglary reports dropped by about 18 percent from 2015 to 2016, dropping from 17 to 14 reports. In 2014, UAPD received 29 reports of burglary.
Crain said he owes this decrease to heightened security in residence halls, students becoming proactive in locking their doors and video surveillance installed throughout the university.
“Burglary was most often a crime of opportunity,” Crain said. “Doors were left unlocked and sometimes people took advantage. That does not happen as often anymore, and when it does, there is a good chance video surveillance leads to a suspect.”
Motor vehicle theft has trended upward over the past year, Crain said, but in 2016, there was an 18 percent decrease from 2015, dropping from 44 reports to 36.
An increase in motor scooters on campus explains that trend, Crain said.
There was a nearly 18 percent decrease in sex crimes reported to UAPD, dropping from nine to seven reports between 2015 and 2016, according to the report. In 2014, UAPD received five sex crime reports, showing an average increase over the three years of nearly 29 percent.
Rape is an underreported crime, Crain said in an email.
“Whether or not crimes occurred on campus and went unreported I cannot say for sure,” Crain said. “In the past, we have received reports of rape a year or longer after the crime occurred, so that’s an indicator that it could be underreported on campus as well.”
Reports of domestic violence to UAPD increased by 25 percent between 2015 and 2016, from 12 to 15 reports. In 2014, UAPD received seven reports of domestic violence, showing a trend of about 48 percent growth per year.

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