Campus crime dropped slightly in '06

But vehicle thefts, drug arrests, aggravated assaults are up

 by Jeff Mitchell
 published on Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Despite adding 2,000 more students and a brand new campus, the total crime reported at ASU dropped slightly in 2006 from 2005.

In 2006, there were 1,934 total crimes (excluding liquor law violations) reported on all four campuses Tempe, Polytechnic, West and Downtown while 2,001 crimes were reported in 2005, according to the 2007 ASU Police Crime Statistics Report. Liquor law violations were not included in the number because University police began recording violations differently this year.

Although crimes were down in 2006, it is not enough of a decrease to be considered a downward trend, said ASU Police Cmdr. Jim Hardina.

"ASU is not a crime-free campus, [but] it's a safe campus," he said.

With 2,000 more students in 2006, ASU crime numbers should have gone up, he said.

Thefts, robberies and burglaries dropped from 1,376 in 2005 to 1,247 in 2006, according to the report.

Hardina said increasing education is the key to reducing thefts.

Students should remember to lock their valuables and doors and keep them out of sight, he added.

Despite the 2006 crime numbers being relatively close to 2005, thefts and robberies are significantly higher than numbers at Ohio State University, a university with similar enrollments numbers to ASU.

Ohio State's enrollment was 59,091 in fall 2006, compared to 63,278 at ASU, according to their respective Web sites.

According to the Ohio State crime report, there were 368 thefts, burglaries and robberies in 2006, compared to 1,247 at ASU during the same year.

In addition, Ohio State reported 19 motor vehicle thefts while ASU had 76 thefts.

ASU liquor law arrests were relatively flat 427 in 2005 to 407 in 2006, Hardina said.

According to the ASU report, there were 1,730 alcohol violations in 2006 and only 584 in 2005, but comparing the numbers is misleading, Hardina said.

The 2006 statistic reflects the number of people who received a violation, but in previous years it represented the number of violations reported, he said.

But irrespective of the reporting difference in 2006, Hardina said alcohol could lead to other crimes such as aggravated assault and sexual assault.

"Fights are about 95 percent alcohol-related, but I can't think of a time when alcohol was not a factor [during an aggravated assault arrest], Hardina said.

UA had 462 alcohol-related arrests in 2006.

"Alcohol plays a major role in increasing the risk of students to be involved with violence [as a perpetrator] or a victim," said Sgt. Eugene Mejia of UA police.

With 14 sexual offenses reported in 2005 and 13 reported in 2006, sexual assault continues to be an underreported crime, Hardina said.

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