Violent crimes, felonies stay low

The number of violent and felony crimes around campus stayed low in 2008, while alcohol- and drug-related incidents rose.

According to the Student Safety Resource Guide released by the Department of Public Safety last week, on-campus arrests for liquor law violations rose to 17 in 2008, more than five times the three liquor law arrests on campus in 2007.

The guide noted that increased enforcement by the Milwaukee Police Department contributed to the sharp rise in arrests.

DPS Lt. Paul Mascari said MPD is writing more tickets for student violations than it has in the past. Mascari said these violations are typically citations given for underage consumption of alcohol.

The amount of on-campus arrests for drug law violations also experienced a small increase. In 2008, DPS reported 10 total drug-related arrests. DPS only reported six arrests in 2007.

Burglary on campus experienced no increase, but the number of burglaries in 2007 and 2008 were high when compared to 2006. DPS reported 26 burglaries in both 2007 and 2008. However, in 2006 there were only 12 burglaries.

Mascari said the burglary statistics in 2008 are high due a string of nine textbook thefts that took place in O’Donnell Hall. DPS considers each separate theft as a burglary.

Russell Shaw, associate director of DPS, said DPS was not notified of the incident until several thefts had already occurred. Officers were soon able to catch the student responsible.

There was also a slight increase in incidents occurring within the residence halls and reported for campus disciplinary actions.

In 2008, DPS reported 884 alcohol-related violations within the residence halls, a 7 percent increase from 824 in 2007. These violations include being in the presence of alcohol, consuming alcohol and distributing alcohol to minors.

Drug violations in the residence halls also experienced an increase. In 2008, DPS reported 36 drug-related offenses, compared to 28 in 2007. These violations include being in the presence of illegal drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia and using either drugs or drug paraphernalia in the dorms.

There was one reported sex offense in 2008, in which a taxi driver reportedly touched a passenger inappropriately. The incident occurred on public property close to the university.

There was a decrease in robberies in the campus area in 2008. Ten robberies occurred in 2007, while only seven occurred in 2008.

Aggravated assaults in the area also decreased. DPS reported nine assaults in 2007, while no assaults were reported in 2008. This includes assaults occurring in the residence halls as well as public property around the university.

The report confirmed most crimes taking place around campus involve drug and alcohol violations. It also reassured students that there are relatively few violent crimes on campus.

Tony Callahan, a freshman in the College of Engineering, did not know how low crime numbers were on campus before he saw the report.

“It’s comforting to know that crime numbers are relatively low,” Callahan said.

The full report can be viewed online by visiting DPS’s Web site.