Report Reveals Increase In Drug-related Arrests, Sexual Assaults On Campus

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UCA’s 2017 Clery Annual Security and Fire Safety Report reveals an upward spike of drug-related arrests and referrals on campus, an increase of cases of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking and a decrease in cases of burglary, motor vehicle theft and fires in 2016.

The annual report, which is mandated by the Clery Act of 1990, discloses crime and fire statistics at UCA for 2016 and combines the data with crime and fire statistics for 2015 and 2014.

The 2017 Clery Report showed there was a drastic increase in cases of stalking, with seven reports of stalking
in 2016 compared to one report in 2014 and two reports in 2015.

Stalking is defined as engaging in activity “directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for that person’s safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress,” according to the
report’s definitions of criminal offenses.

“I know of no specific reason why the number [of stalking cases] has increased so drastically,” UCAPD Public
Relations and Information Officer Michael Hopper said. “It could be something as simple as an increase in the
number of reports and not an increase in the number of incidents.”

While reports of dating violence decreased from six in 2015 to three in 2016, reports of both sexual assault and domestic violence rose from two in 2015 to four in 2016.

In 2016, UCAPD, university departments and recognized student organizations organized 18 programs designed to spread awareness of sexual assault in an effort to help prevent cases of sexual violence.

“Throughout the year, [UCAPD] provide a number of outreach opportunities to the community regarding
assault and self-defense,” Hopper said. “The university also provides classes and other outreach in an effort
to educate the community about how to prevent assault, including what constitutes consent. We would like to see
more people attend these type of outreach services that we and the university offer.”

While there was a decrease in on campus liquor-related referrals and arrests — dropping from 92 referrals and five arrests in 2015 to 45 referrals and four arrests in 2016 — there was a spike in on campus drug-
related referrals and arrests, increasing from 28 referrals and 20 arrests in 2015 to 34 referrals and 38 arrests in 2016.

Cases of motor vehicle theft dropped from 7 in 2015 to 3 in 2016, and reports of burglary dropped from 19 in 2015 to 13 in 2016.

Ten of the 13 burglary cases occurred in residence halls.

Hopper said the high number of burglaries in residence halls may be due to the fact that Clery guidelines defines burglaries as the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft.

Because a structure is defined as having four walls, a roof and a door, Hopper said burglaries in different rooms
in a residence hall suite would be reported as separate cases.

“The easiest way to keep from becoming a victim [of burglary] is simply to lock the door when you leave the room unoccupied,” Hopper said. “Also, we advise students to never let anyone you do not know inside of a residence hall.”

The Clery Report also recorded a decrease in fires in 2016, with one fire reported in 2016 and three fires reported
in 2015.

While the three fires in 2015 were cooking-related and occurred in university housing, the single fire recorded in 2016 was due to an industrial clothes dryer catching fire in the Farris Center.

Director of Housing and Residence Life Stephanie McBrayer said the 2015 installation of FireStop devices — a fire suppressor that guards against grease fires — above the stoves in university apartment-style housing may be related to the decrease in fires in 2016.

“Many of the fire incidents occur in apartments, which is logical given that the apartments provide full kitchens and cooking options,” McBrayer said. “[FireStop] devices allow for quick extermination of a fire that occurs on the stove top. Additionally, I believe there is an awareness value to the FireStop device. The FireStop is visible and serves as a reminder to those using the stove to practice safety and not to leave items unattended while cooking.”

However, according to the UCAPD Daily Fire Log, there has been a sharp increase in fires in 2017, with eight fires reported so far.

All of these eight fires occurred in university housing, but only four occurred in apartment-style housing.

Five of the fires were related to cooking appliances.

McBrayer said the increase in reported fires in 2017 may be due to an increased awareness in the need to report fires.

“All occurrences [in 2017] were very minor in nature and a few years ago may have gone unreported,” McBrayer
said. “We have increased our training around the requirement of reporting, which can also contribute to the increase we have seen this year.”

She said in most cases of housing fires, residents leave their cooking unattended, which is especially dangerous when cooking with grease.

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Sophia Ordaz is a freshman at UCA double majoring in English and Linguistics. She is a bookworm, a lover of 90s hip hop, a Quentin Tarantino mega-fan and a part-time barista.

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