Campus arrests dwindle, assaults increasing

Crimes reported on campus declined from previous years in 2006, according to the annual Clery Act report released this month. Arrests and liquor-law citations have continued decreasing since 2004 and 2005.

“We have seen a reduction in the number of alcohol violations,” said University Police Chief Dale Pittman. “It peaked four years ago and in the past two years has significantly dropped. I expect 2007 to be even lower in alcohol violations specifically.”

UAA is required by the federal Clery Act to release a campus security report disclosing all reported crime incidents on campus. The report shows crimes in 2006 and separates them by prior years and geographic area, including the Anchorage campus and the Kenai Peninsula campus.

All universities offering federal financial aid must release the same information.

There were 142 liquor law violations, including minors consuming alcohol, across UAA’s main campus in 2006, according to the Clery Act report. That number decreased from 236 violations in 2004 and 183 in 2005.

The Clery Act report lists all genres of crime. But if a student makes reports such as a sexual assault and the University Police later learns the offense did not occur, they must include the reported incident in the statistics, Pittman said. However, the Clery report will explain that it was a false alarm. A log of all calls for University Police service is available online.

Kody Posten, a UAA student, said he could see universities not wanting their images tarnished by the report but said he thinks students have a right to know.

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“From a student’s perspective, it’s a good thing to know, and it’s good for parents to know too. I wouldn’t want to send my kid to a school with a high crime rate,” he said.

Sophomore Erin Chriswell said she doesn’t think the report has much of an effect.

“I think the report is a good idea, but I don’t think the report would persuade most people differently, seeing as how everyone always has the mentality that it won’t happen to them,” she said.

Pittman said UAA has a low crime rate compared with other universities. He said he thinks the report provides good information and that many prospective students and their parents consider it when choosing a university.

The Clery Act report is named after Jeanne Clery. She was a Lehigh University student who was raped and murdered in her dorm room in 1986, according to the report’s history. After her death, her parents discovered that the school had not disclosed the actual violent crime statistics and the threat that posed to students attending the university.

“The purpose of the Clery Act is to provide transparency for people who are coming to our campus to have a real idea of what crimes are occurring on campus, so they can make an informed decision as to attend our school or another,” Pittman said.

Get the full report at www.uaa.alaska.edu/safety/upload/safetyoct4web.pdf.