Crime

Report shows increase in alcohol-related offenses from 2012 to 2013

The number of disciplinary referrals for liquor law violations at Syracuse University from 2012 to 2013 went up by 259, an increase of about 25 percent, according to the university’s recently released annual security report.

These violations increased from 1,044 to 1,303, according to the 79-page report. Judicial referrals for drug violations also grew from 162 to 273 — an approximately 68.5 percent increase. The report is mandated by the Clery Act, a landmark law that requires colleges that receive federal money to disclose crime statistics as well as develop and disclose security procedures.

Pam Peter, director of SU’s Office for Student Rights and Responsibilities, said the increase in alcohol-related referrals could be related to growth in enrollment, as well as the number of times “medical intervention” was needed for students drinking. In Fall 2013 alone, she said, there were 156 students who needed medical help — more than all of 2012.

The reasons why more students are ending up in the hospital when they’re drinking, or that an ambulance has to be called, are not completely clear, she said. Typically, a stranger, someone from the Office of Residence Life or a Department of Public Safety officer is calling for help, not students for their friends.

“I have no idea,” Peter said. “I don’t know why there’s such an increase in those numbers,” she added.

This semester, there have been about 75–80 times when medical help was needed, she said. That’s about on pace with last year. Peter said conversations with students have suggested they believe drinking is a way to meet other people and be comfortable.

Along with the number of judicial referrals, the report also lists the number of crimes that happened on-campus and properties owned by SU, as well as on nearby streets and sidewalks.

Most crimes that happen at SU are those of “opportunity,” said Nikki Cooter, manager of administration and Clery compliance at DPS. That includes, for example, leaving items out in plain sight and having them stolen.

Here are some of the other numbers for 2013:

—Criminal homicide: zero

—Robbery: five

—Aggravated assault: one

—Burglary: 28

—Motor vehicle theft: one

—Arson: zero

Because of changes with federal law, colleges were also mandated to report sex crimes in a more detailed way than in the past. Changes also require colleges to report three additional crimes: dating violence, domestic violence and stalking.

For these crimes, the report shows:

—Rape: one

—Sodomy: one

—Sexual assault with an object: three

—Fondling: four

—Statutory rape: zero

—Incest: zero

—Dating violence: four

—Domestic violence: zero

—Stalking: six

Abigail Boyer, the assistant executive director of programs for the Clery Center for Security On Campus, a national organization that advocates for campus safety, said one of the benefits of the report to students is all the resources for campus security it provides. In SU’s report, the first 39 pages include information about the Blue Light system, safety escorts and shuttles, emergency alerts and resources for sexual assault survivors.

“We almost refer to the annual report as the Cliff Notes of campus security,” Boyer said.

She added that the statistics listed on the annual report may not always mean there’s more crime.

“Higher statistics could sometimes reflect that the institution is proactively talking about these issues and that students are comfortable coming forward and reporting because they’re confident in the response they’re going to receive,” Boyer said.

The statistics included in the annual report do not include crimes that happen a few blocks off-campus. For those crimes, DPS notifies students through email.

Students can find the report on DPS’s website at: http://publicsafety.syr.edu/PublicSafety/ckfinder/userfiles/files/annual-security-report.pdf

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