Clery Report shows rise in alcohol-related crime, sex offenses at UI
A new report prepared by the University of Iowa late last week shows a rise in the number of crimes in several categories, and several university officials said the increase might be due to a change in policy and law enforcement.
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics and Fire Safety Report for 2012 contains crime data from the years 2009 through 2011, organized by crime category.
Chuck Green, the assistant vice president for the UI police, said the report contains information about all crimes that occurred on UI-owned or UI-controlled property, on directly adjacent public property, or on property that is controlled by the university but is not in the vicinity of the main campus.
The report shows arrests and judicial referrals for liquor-law violations fluctuated between 2009 and 2011, with a total of 127 arrests and 537 judicial referrals in 2009, 561 arrests and 508 referrals in 2010, and 497 arrests and 777 referrals in 2011 — an overall increase in both arrests and referrals.
Kelly Bender, the UI campus-community harm-reduction initiatives coordinator, said the increase in judicial referrals might be explained by a change made in 2010 to the UI Student Code of Conduct to allow any students arrested in Johnson County for violence, drug, or alcohol possession to be subject to disciplinary action through the UI.
“We did see a big increase in judicial referrals as a result of that policy change,” she said.
Bender also said the increase in both arrests and referrals could be attributed to an increase in the enforcement of liquor laws, especially during football season.
“Enforcement is typically not a very popular solution,” she said. “But it’s a pretty important part of redefining what’s considered acceptable behavior.”
Bender said the increase in enforcement was encouraged by several local coalitions, as well as by local business owners, some of whom didn’t like to have intoxicated patrons in their stores after home football games.
“It really is an important part of making the shift to sort of having a different normal on those days,” she said, adding it’s important to remember the intended effect of the increased enforcement.
The report also showed a rise in the number of forcible sex offenses on campus, with 11 total offenses in 2011, compared to the 7 total offenses reported in 2010.
Karla Miller, executive director of the Rape Victim Advocacy Program, said the rise in offenses contained in the report is not a very clear indicator of the pattern of sexual assaults in the community.
The question is, were more assaults occurring or did people report more [of them],” she said. “And if they reported more, what drives more reporting?”
Miller said there are many factors that can influence whether a victim decides to report an assault to law enforcement, or at all.
“I think there have been more efforts to get information into the community about reporting,” she said, anmd the UI has done a good job making information about reporting sexual assaults available to the community. “And whenever that happens, then it leaves signals to potential victims and everybody else that they’re paying attention to these types of crimes and they want them reported.”
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