Alcohol arrests rise

Jessica Sewing | Collegio Reporter

Each year, federal law requires that the Pitt State University Police release a summary of the campus crime statistics. The most glaring numbers on this year’s report is the nearly 300 percent increase in alcohol-related arrests.
It is no surprise that the number of liquor law violations represented the most offenses, given that this is on a college campus. The number of alcohol violations that led to arrests rose exponentially in the last three years. In 2009 there were 15 alcohol violations that led to an arrest while that number climbed to 96 in 2011.
Though the number of arrests has increased, the number of disciplinary referrals has dropped drastically. According to Mike McCracken, director of university police and parking services, disciplinary referrals aren’t necessarily violations of the law, but it could be a violation of a university policy. The number of liquor violations that ended in referrals was 165 in 2009, but that number dropped to only 72 in 2011.
“With the zero-tolerance policy, we took more enforcement action through the criminal side rather than referring them through the judicial,” McCracken said.
Before the semester began, university police sent numerous emails to students and parents about the zero tolerance for alcohol and drug violations. In the crime report, the amount of drug abuse violence resulting in referrals has steadily increased over the last three years. McCracken says that the UPD is trying to decrease that number.
“We are taking steps to improve the drug violations,” McCracken said. “The numbers are not there but that could be a result of better enforcement and people aren’t doing these things as much because they are worried.”
McCracken says he his hopeful that the new tailgating policy banning alcohol consumption after kick off will help violations in the long run. He says there is a chance that there will be a temporary increase in referrals and possibly arrests, but overall the number should decrease in the future.
“Long term we should see a trend decrease,” McCracken said. “With the amount of enforcement, we could see a spike.”

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