Crime statistics released for University of Arizona 2017

Crime statistics released for University of Arizona 2017

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The 2017 University of Arizona Campus Safety, Security and Fire report will be released October 1.

The report will show no big increases in crime numbers for robbery, burglary or drug arrests.

"There's nothing that jumps out at me," said Brian Seastone, the campus police chief.

There was however, an increase in liquor law violations, disciplinary actions coupled with a drop in arrests.

That is likely because the university offers students who are detained because of liquor law violations to attend a diversionary program rather than face arrest.

Seastone started the program more than three years ago.

"If they successfully complete that program there is no record of their arrest," he said.

763 students opted for the program in 2016 compared to 457 in 2015.

"We know that in this population, people are going to make mistakes," he said. "This gives them a second opportunity."

Another area of concern in an increase in hate crimes but Seastone believes that is reflected in a general trend throughout the county and does not point to an alarming trend at the University.

But there is another area that Seastone and Dean of Students Kendal Washington White are keeping an eye on.

The number of sexual assaults on campus increased from 18 to 24 year to year. That's still fewer than the 28 in 2014 but still an area of concern.

"It's hard to say whether or not sexual assaults are increasing in frequency," said Washington White. "I think the level of awareness raising that colleges across the country, as well as what the U of A has done, really helps students know there is a resource."

The University says students who have been the victim of a sexual assault have three options.

The student can go through the criminal justice system, use the student code of conduct through the Dean's Office, or just seek help through the resources provided through the university.

"It's entirely up to the student," Washington White said.

A university junior who was raped during her sophomore year, and has been going through counseling through the university for the past year, waited three months before coming forward.

She said, in part, because reporting a rape is so difficult for the victim.

"People don't know how hard it is, to bring yourself to the hospital, sit down and everything that has happened to you flashback like a story replaying over and over again," she said.

The university says it may be a lack of interviewing skills with the person gathering information and certainly, Washington White says, the victim would be given a one on one interview, not in a group setting.

Still, some of the questions can feel like an intrusion, especially if alcohol is involved, which frequently, it is.

"We may ask how much did you have to drink because that helps us to determine if that person was incapacitated," Washington White said. "If someone is passed out, they can't give consent to sex, so we have to ask those kinds of questions."

The university code of conduct is explicit on consent.

"I did let myself get that drunk but he was the one that did the action," the victim said. "I couldn't consent to anything but he still did it."

It's an issue the university faces on a regular basis.

"If the victim has been drinking and is underage, that's the last of our concerns," said Washington White. "We're not going to sanction them for underage drinking because they're the victim here."

For many of the students its the first taste of independence, the first experience with alcohol, and the first time with social interactions at this level.

But the university would not be surprised if the numbers rise as more students feel more comfortable about coming forward.

Victims feel there is still a long ways to go.

"Is there anything else I can do?," the victim said. "I reported it but what are you going to do to make me feel safe on campus again?"

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