The University of Arizona 2019 Campus Safety, Security and Fire Report, also known as the Clery Act report, revealed little change in the number of reported hate crimes, a significant rise in documented motor vehicle thefts and a decline in reported rapes.
The report, released this morning, reflects crimes reported to the University of Arizona Police Department for the previous year, in this case 2018.
Discussions of hate crimes on campus dominated the press conference where Chief of Police Brian Seastone and Dean of students Kendal Washington White presented the report.
Four hate crimes were reported last year. Two were antisemitic in nature. Three of the crimes were considered “passive,” in that they were written examples of disparaging language on campus. The third was an incident of verbal intimidation.
This is a slight decrease from the five hate crimes reported in 2017 and on par with the four reported in 2016.
Washington White also said that the UA may see an increase in hate crimes in next year’s report, which will reflect crimes reported in 2019.
“I think, though, that we have to be honest about what’s happening in our national climate," Washington White said. “And we will see probably a tremendous increase in our numbers next year … We are living in a community, overall in our country, where people are emboldened to say and do things like this, and it’s having an impact on our campus. I hope it disappears, but that’s not going to happen.”
As defined by the FBI, hate crimes are treated with increased severity because they threaten not just individual victims, but entire communities. For students who are the victims of these crimes or feel unsafe because of these crimes, the Department of Equity, Inclusion and Title IX and Counseling and Psychological Services are available resources, Seastone said.
The alleged assault of a black student by two white students earlier this month brought hate crimes to the center of focus on campus. Hundreds of students participated in a protest in support of the victim. The leaders of the protest called for UAPD to be held accountable for what they believed was an inadequate response on the night of the alleged assault.
According to Seastone, this incident is being officially treated as a hate crime.
During the conference, Washington White reminded the public that the alleged assailants are owed due process under the law, which can sometimes lead to a delay in information.
“I think that as human beings, we’re in a society where we want instant answers to everything and that’s just not how the real world works,” Washington White said. “Our police department has to get as much information as possible, they have to interview a number of people. What might seem to be an obvious interview isn't always so obvious.”
She focused on the victim, who she described as being away from home for the first time and went through something no one expects to happen to them when they come to college. She also asked students to report their experiences so that UAPD can identify patterns of behavior.
She also said that Campus Conversations will be returning this year as a space for the UA community to talk through controversial issues. One of the conversations was held last year in response to the Arizona 3 incident. However, Washington White said future conversations will differ in that they will be more similar to round table discussions with trained facilitators.
Another significant revelation in the report was the increase in motor vehicle thefts reported to UAPD: 33 thefts were documented in 2018, according to the report, over double the number reported in 2017. 15 reported were documented in 2017 and 18 documented in 2016.
This reflects a larger trend of increased motor vehicle thefts within Pima County, according to Seastone.
Despite this increase in motor vehicle thefts, the number of reported burglaries decreased from 64 cases in 2017 to 41 cases in 2018. Reported robbery cases saw a slight increase, from four cases in 2017 to five cases in 2018.
Reported cases of rape decreased by nearly half. 14 cases were documented in 2018, as opposed to the 22 cases reported in 2017 and the 24 cases in 2016.
Other sex offenses saw slight increases. There was one documented incident of statutory rape in an non-campus property, as opposed to no reported cases in years past. Fondling reports also increased from three reported cases in both 2016 and 2017 to four cases in 2018.
In last year’s report, liquor law violations and drug law violations, which resulted in disciplinary actions through the UA Diversion program, rather than arrest, saw dramatic decreases. This year, drug law violations saw another significant decrease. 123 cases were reported in 2016, 102 cases reported in 2017 and only 64 cases in 2018.
Incidents of drug law violations that resulted in arrests rose, however, from 108 documented cases in 2017 to 170 cases in 2018.
Liquor law violations that resulted in diversion also increased this year, after their dramatic drop last year. There were 763 reported cases in 2016, 472 cases in 2017 and 624 cases in 2018.
Arrests made due to liquor law violations continued to decrease this year, with 129 reported cases in 2018, as opposed to the 155 arrests in 2017 and 168 arrests in 2016.
Seastone and Washington White said they did not have any theories to explain these changes.
“There are trends,” Seastone said. “There’s just some years that are different than others. And I think that’s what we experienced some years ago.” He also added that many of the cases involve people unaffiliated with UA, such as people pulled over during traffic stops.
Washington White said she was eager to see what these numbers will look like in next year’s report, given the academic prowess of this year’s freshman class.
In regard to serious crimes, no incidents of murder, manslaughter or incest were documented in 2018. One case of arson was reported on a non-campus property and one weapons laws arrest occurred on public property last year.
Aggravated assault cases saw a slight increase this year. 11 cases were reported in 2018, as opposed to the 10 cases reported in 2017.
Domestic violence cases decreased from 19 reported cases in 2017 to 16 cases in 2018. Dating violence cases increased from two cases reported in 2017 to three cases reported in 2018. Four cases of stalking were reported in both 2018 and 2017.
The numbers in this report reflect the incidents that have come to UAPD’s attention, not necessarily the total amount of crime on campus or in the UA community. Seastone and Washington White reminded the public that law enforcement rely on people’s willingness to report crimes in order to keep the community safe and that “if you see something, say something.”
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