Lurking moose, decreased crime

Aside from the ever-present danger of a moose mauling, the University of Alaska Anchorage is a relatively safe place. According to 2000-2001 UAA Campus Security Report, crime is not as prevalent as one might think and it's decreasing by the year.

Federal law requires colleges and universities across the United States to disclose information about crime on their campuses each year. The Office of Student Affairs, which publishes UAA's security report, feels that it illustrates a safe university.

“We think that our campus is relatively safe, especially compared to other Lower 48 universities,” said Bruce Schultz, associate dean of students.

According to the report, three burglaries, 70 Larceny/Thefts, 117 liquor law violations and eight drug abuse violations occurred on campus during 2000. The majority of liquor law and drug abuse violations occur in the residence halls. All of these numbers have declined in the past three years. Most notably, alcohol incidents have decreased 34 percent from the same time last year.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, burglary is by far the most reported crime across campuses in the United States followed by motor vehicle theft. Considering the large number of commuter students at UAA, these types of crimes can be of concern. Schultz cautions students to watch what valuables they leave in plain sight in their vehicles, in the locker rooms and to be wary of crimes of opportunity.

Schultz also emphasizes that the statistics listed in the report may not accurately reflect actual incidents. The Office of Student Affairs can only record those incidents that are reported. Crimes that are not reported to University Police Department, Department of Residence Life or Office of Student Affairs will not be recorded.

Some crimes, especially sexual harassment and assault tend be underreported because the victim is frightened or embarrassed. Schultz sayst any crime can be reported confidentially with a personal counselor in the Advising and Counseling Center. With the student's permission, the counselor can then forward information about the crime to the dean of students to be included in annual campus crime statistics.

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Junior Nicole Clark says she feels UAA assists students in staying safe by offering the shuttles bus and UAA Parking Services call team officers, who provide safety escorts on request. However, Clark says she does not feel safe at night on campus by herself, especially on the wooded trails around campus.

“I wouldn't walk around (campus) at night by myself, but I wouldn't walk around anywhere by myself at night,” Clark said.

On the other hand, Senior Tamara Kaniaupio fears the hazards that can not always be alleviated by increased policing or a safety escort.

“If you walk around the paths at night, the biggest thing you have to worry about is a moose,” said Kaniaupio.