Campus crime wrap-up: 2016-17 school year
With nearly 24,000 students, 80 buildings, and its own health center and police department, the University of Oregon often feels like a city within a city. And like any city, the university has to deal with crime.
Those crimes are documented every week in UOPD’s Clery crime log — a requirement established in the 1990s to ensure college campuses were being transparent with crime and safety issues.
By saving and compiling data and making records requests for old logs, the Emerald has established a database of every offense reported in the Clery log since the 2012-2013 school year.
Offenses in the log range from assault, rape, kidnapping and possession of cocaine to more minor infractions such as alcohol violations in the dorms. There have been 10,837 violations listed in the log since September 2012. What follows is an analysis of the most common and serious crimes, and trends that have emerged over the last five school years.
For the purposes of this story, a school year is defined as the beginning of September to end of June. July and August were omitted from the data because a majority of students are not on campus.
Sexual assault is one of the biggest issues facing U.S colleges. UO is no exception.
The basketball team faced a sexual assault scandal in 2014, when it was revealed that three Oregon basketball players played in the NCAA tournament while being investigated for a sexual assault at an off-campus party.
The players were never charged, but were eventually expelled. Legal battles between the school, the accused players, and the victim ensued. The school ended up settling with the victim, paying her $800,000 and awarding her free tuition.
There were 23 sex-related crimes reported in the Clery log this school year: 16 rapes, three cases of sex abuse, two sexual assaults, and two cases of attempted rape. If that number sounds high, it is — 2016-17 saw the highest number of reported sex-related crimes in the last five school years.
However, the increasing number of reported rapes doesn’t necessarily mean that crime is occurring more or campus is becoming more dangerous.
According to a UOPD spokesman, any reports of rape that appear to have been made in good faith now appear in the crime log, even if they weren’t reported directly to UOPD as a crime. These include rapes reported by a student to the Title IX office, or reports made on UO’s anonymous online reporting form.
“We think we’re seeing this increase in reports because more reporting services are now available,” UOPD spokesman Kelly McIver told the Emerald in November 2016.
“Sexual assault is too common of a problem in this age group.”
McIver says that sexual assault is a difficult crime to investigate. Often the crime is reported long after it occurs, making it hard to collect evidence. Many of the rapes in the crime log from 2016-17 were reported weeks or even months after the crime occurred.
Notably, 15 of the 23 sex-related crimes occurred on campus. Most of those cases simply list the location as “on-campus” or “on-campus residence hall,” although one case is specifically listed as occurring in the Bean Complex. Another case occurred in a “fraternity chapter house,” but the name of the fraternity isn’t available.
Driving under the influence
A trend that sticks out in the crime log is the dramatic increase in DUII cases this school year. UOPD arrested one person for DUII in the 2012-13 school year. In 2016-17, campus police arrested or cited 74 people.
Does that mean there’s been a massive increase in people driving while intoxicated near campus? Not quite. According to UOPD officer Adam Lillengreen, UOPD didn’t focus on enforcing DUIIs until recently, leaving that to Eugene police instead.
But, because it seemed to be an issue affecting campus, UOPD decided to train its officers in DUII enforcement over the past year. As a result, campus area DUII arrests have skyrocketed. In 2017 alone, there have been 50 DUII arrests by UOPD. Thirteen of those were current UO students, including star football player Darren Carrington.
Carrington was arrested early in the morning on July 1 after crashing his car into a pole at the McDonald’s drive-thru on Franklin Boulevard. He then made an illegal turn and was stopped and arrested by police.
UOPD received a $3,400 grant last year from Oregon Impact, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing drunk driving. As a result, the police department has put more resources into enforcement.
“Now we can have officers who come on duty and the only thing they do is investigate DUIIs,” Lillengreen said. “They are paid for by the state and federal grant.”
DUII arrests in 2016-17 are up 32 percent from 2015-16. Before that, UOPD hardly arrested anyone for DUII.
Drug and alcohol violations
The student conduct code prohibits students from drinking or smoking marijuana in UO residence halls, but that doesn’t stop them. When a student is “written-up” or cited for possessing drugs or alcohol in the dorms, the violation goes into the Clery log. Drug and alcohol violations are the single most common offense listed in the log.
Over the last five school years, resident assistants have issued 4,989 alcohol or drug citations. The number issued per year peaked at 1,298 in 2014-15.
Bean Hall led the way for drug and alcohol violations this year, with 167. It was followed by Barnhart (142), Hamilton (131), and Walton (108).
Global Scholars Hall lived up to its name, coming in last place with 46 violations on the year.
Outside of drug and alcohol violations, theft is the most common crime reported in the Clery log. In 2016-17, UOPD reported 327 cases of theft, including burglary, vehicle theft, and unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle. This was a slight increase from the 295 cases of these crimes in 2015-16. Bicycle theft is common – UOPD reported 71 cases this year.
In the crime log, theft and possession of meth often go together. There were 21 cases of possession of meth and other drugs in 2016-17, including heroin and cocaine. Most meth/heroin possession cases occurred off campus, but meth-related arrests were made at Pacific Hall, Knight Library, Barnhart Hall, and the Walton Complex this year.
Violent crime is relatively rare compared with property crime. There were 13 assaults reported this year, along with six cases of carrying a concealed weapon. UOPD hasn’t reported any homicides in the last five school years.
Follow Jack Pitcher on Twitter @jackpitcher20 .
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