The University of Arizona Police Department and the UA Dean of Students Office released the annual Campus Safety, Security and Fire Report for 2016 on Saturday, Sept. 29 for the UA main campus.
Although there has been a rise in stalking, domestic violence and drug violations, the report shows that offenses such as sexual assault and liquor law violations have decreased.
The number of drug violations increased from 92 in 2014, to 130 in 2015, reports of stalking increased by over 50 percent, from six to 13 between 2014 and 2015 and an increase in domestic reports from 18 to 19 between 2014 and 2015.
The number of reported rapes decreased from 28 in 2014 to 18 in 2015.
According to Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Kendal Washington White, data from a sexual health survey taken last spring showed that 80 percent of our student population felt that the university would take sexual assault reports seriously.
“I’m pleased with where we are as an institution, but I think we can always do better,” Washington White said. “There is an increasing number of students who are entering the University of Arizona in unhealthy relationships."
UAPD and the Dean of Students are working to make sure everyone on campus has a way to move past these incidents. UAPD Police Chief Brian Seastone said that UAPD's outreach has been exceptional.
Seastone said UAPD and the university believe their efforts to counteract campus sexual assault are gaining steam and beginning to make an affect on the UA community.
He said UAPD wants people to feel comfortable in reporting incidents to the department.
Washington White said some students have the notion that they shouldn’t report sexual assault if underage drinking is involved, as they believe the victim will be charged and fined with breaking the university’s alcohol policy.
“We would never charge a victim of sexual abuse with breaking the academic code of conduct, that is just ridiculous,” Washington White said. “It also creates a chilling effect that prevents people from coming forward and that is not what we want.”
The Dean of Students Office is working toward making students and staff understand their options if they become victims of sexual assault or domestic violence.
“Alcohol is usually involved in domestic violence cases,” Seastone said. “Domestic violence takes place in either a romantic or family relationship. Bad communication between individuals and people unwilling to get out of relationships that may not be conducive to a good partnership is also a factor.”
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Washington White said both UAPD and the Dean of Students Office are encouraging people to come forward and report domestic violence because they will work together to help any victimized student remain at UA.
According to Seastone, crimes in which there is a victim such as domestic violence and sexual assault are relatively low.
“The majority of offenses are crimes against property and drugs and alcohol, which have always been at the top of our list,” Seastone said.
The report shows that there were 33 burglaries and 17 motor vehicle thefts reported in 2015.
“Our students tend to be very trusting and leave their laptops on a table in the library or the union to go use the restroom and they come back and their laptop is gone,” Washington White said. “It’s a crime of opportunity.”
The Dean of Students Office is working to make students aware that crimes such as these can be easily avoidable.
Drug law violations remained the highest in increased offenses since 2013. UAPD reported there were 122 drug arrests and 130 drug violations in 2015.
Noticing trends in drug violations and how they affect students are a priority for UAPD and the Dean of Students Office.
“There has been an increase in wax marijuana and cocaine use at the University of Arizona,” Washington White said. “The more we know, the more we can address these situations.”
Seastone said that UAPD is striving towards finding better ways to do things that will be more effective for our community.
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