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Liquor and drug violations most frequent offenses at UB, burglaries decrease

UPD sends out annual crime reports as part of Clery Act

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The Spectrum

Liquor law and drug related violations remain the most frequent crimes on campus – with both offenses bringing in numbers of more than 400.

The number of arsons on campus has increased, with three in 2014 after just one in 2013 and none in 2012.

The amount of burglaries meanwhile has decreased 50 percent in one year from 2013 to 2014.

UPD sent out its annual safety and security report Friday. The report contained a comparison of statistics from 2012, 2013 and 2014. The Clery Act from 1990 made it a requirement for colleges and universities to disclose all crime reports – which includes anything from DWIs to larceny – to the FBI and then make the information available to the public.

Deputy Chief of Police Joshua Sticht also said that, compared to other SUNY schools, UB’s crime rate is low and violent crimes, such as assault, is “statistically non-existent.” He said while UB has higher crime rates than SUNY Brockport, when comparing school populations, our crime rates are lower per capita.

While the reports do not specify which campus the crimes occurred on, Sticht said most of the crimes reported come from North Campus instead of South Campus.

“Believe it or not,” he said. “People have that perception that the South Campus has more crimes but what they’re thinking about there is not the South Campus, but the University Heights neighborhood which is not ours.”

UPD does not patrol the Heights but does assist Buffalo Police if it is requested.

Sticht said the report typically looks into crimes concerning a college-aged population such as sex offenses, robberies and assaults.

According to the crime statistics, arson on campus has gone from zero in 2012 to three in 2014. Sticht said, although he was surprised by the increase, most of the arsons reported were categorized as reckless rather than intentional.

In 2013, former student Alec Seidenberg caused $250,000 worth of damage to his Spaulding dorm in an incident labeled as arson. He reportedly dropped a butane torch he was using to smoke marijuana, causing the fire. In this case, the arson was considered to be reckless.

Sticht said that bicycle theft is one of the higher offenses on campus. He said this might be due to the fact that UB is “putting so much effort into encouraging bike ridership” and that students buy expensive bikes but get a cheap bike lock to protect it from theft.

Burglaries around campus have decreased, including in dorm rooms, which have decreased from 29 cases in 2012 to only 15 in 2014.

The statistics show that burglaries have dropped from 50 to 25 offenses from 2013 to 2014. Sticht said this might be due to UPD’s increase in problem-oriented projects in freshman dorms that teach the students how to prevent crime.

Robberies have also decreased from 17 in 2012 to just four in 2014.

The amount of liquor law violations and drug related violations are easily the most frequent crimes on campus.

The amount of liquor law violations on campus increased substantially from 486 in 2013 to 644 in 2014. There were 450 drug violations in 2014 compared to 382 in 2013.

But most people who committed the violations were just referred to Judicial Affairs. UPD made only one liquor related arrest between 2012-14 and only 47 of the 450 drug violations in 2014 were arrests.

The amount of sex offenses forcible on campus has decreased from 16 in 2012 to eight in 2014. There has been no non-forcible sex offenses in the past three years. There were 21 cases of domestic violence in 2014, but no cases of dating violence.

Per the Clery Act requirements, universities and colleges are required to make sure the public is aware the annual crime report was posted. In addition to an email alert, UB published the report on their Facebook page and placed stickers with the notice on employees’ paychecks.

Taylor Strickland, a senior communication major, said she wasn’t aware than the report was sent out, but said she thinks it’s a necessity to know what’s going on around campus. She also said she would like a change in how the report is sent out.

“I think it should be sent out more than once a year,” Strickland said. “I also think a text alert would be a lot more sufficient just because not everyone has email set up on their phone.”

Five officers and one lieutenant must be working at all times while school is in session, according to Sticht, and while five officers is the “bare minimum,” most of the time UPD is “running well above that.”

There are currently 40 sworn-in officers employed at UB. If only five officers are working, typical protocol is for three officers to patrol North Campus and two officers patrol South Campus.

Marlee Tuskes is a news desk editor and can be reached at marlee.tuskes@ubspectrum.com. Follow her on Twitter at @marleetuskes5.


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