Widgets Magazine

Campus crime stable, alcohol incidents rising

Campus crime figures for the 2011-12 academic year show little overall divergence from previous years, according to data compiled by the Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS). Alcohol-related incidents, however, did increase by a significant margin.

The Stanford campus experienced a 45 percent increase in medical alcohol transportations this school year as compared to last year. Between September 2011 and April 2012, 77 people were transported for alcohol-related medical reasons. There were 53 transports during the same time frame last year, according to SUDPS records.

(SERENITY NGUYEN/The Stanford Daily)

Despite the uptick in transports, the Office of Alcohol Policy and Education (OAPE) recently declared the first year of the Cardinal Nights alcohol-free entertainment initiative to be a success in creating community on campus for non-drinkers.

Forty-eight drivers were cited for being in possession of alcohol during this academic year, representing more than double the 23 cited during the same time frame last year. Twenty-four citations were issued to minors in possession of alcohol, only one more than issued last year.

The rate of DUIs doubled to 16 from September 2011 to April 2012 from the eight arrests made during that time frame last year.

Seven people were cited for possession of a controlled substance this year, while 10 were cited for that offense during the same months last year.

There were eight reported sex offenses compared with five reports last year: two batteries, one incident of indecent exposure, two rapes, one sexual assault and two unverified report. Of the five reports from the previous year, three were for incidents of rape.

Both vehicle and dorm burglaries decreased this year. Fourteen vehicle burglaries and 15 dorm burglaries were reported. Last year, 34 and 19 reports were filed for those crimes, respectively.

Petty theft during this time period rose by nearly 68 percent, with 357 reported incidents this year compared with 241 reported incidents for the same time frame last academic year.

Reported incidents of both structural and vehicle vandalism were cut in half, with 13 structural vandalism incidents and six vehicle vandalism incidents this year compared with 26 and 11 last year, respectively.

“People have asked throughout the year if there has been an increase in the number of AlertSUs [emergency notifications] and if there has been an increase in crime,” wrote Chief of Police Laura Wilson ‘91 in an email to The Daily. “What people may not know is that the University is required to send these according to a federal law known as the Clery Act. We have modified some of our practices over the past year in order to ensure that we are complying with the law to the fullest extent possible.”

Wilson also noted that her department has received more community requests for active shooter and active killer response training sessions during this academic year.

“These training sessions provide people with information about options they can take during an active shooter incident as well as the important steps the community can take to bring concerning behavior to the attention of skilled professionals in an effort to preclude violence,” Wilson wrote.

However, Wilson said that by far the most prominent SUDPS initiative during the 2011-12 academic year has been its bicycle safety program.

While acknowledging that students may not be happy with the increased presence of SUDPS officers near stop signs to issue tickets for traffic offences, Wilson noted that members of the Stanford community have yet to propose viable alternative solutions to the bicycle safety problem on campus other than increased enforcement.

“What really became obvious is that a tremendous amount of educating and informing students had been done but education alone wasn’t changing the culture,” Wilson wrote.

“Many people are not only exasperated by bicyclists failing to stop at stop signs and riding at night without proper lighting, they are altering their behavior in order to avoid the possibility of being involved in a collision with a bicyclist,” Wilson wrote.

Wilson cited anecdotal evidence of greater cyclist caution at the Campus Drive-Escondido Road stop sign and an increased number of bikers wearing helmets at that intersection as potential evidence of positive impact from the escalated enforcement.

Yesterday, in “OAPE cites gains with Cardinal Nights,” The Daily reported that there were 64 transports last year and 66 this year. This information came from Angelina Cardona ’11 of the Office of Alcohol Policy Education; the statisitics in today’s article came from Laura Wilson, chief of police and director of the Stanford Department of Public Safety. Representatives from OAPE and SUDPS were unreachable for comment Wednesday evening. The Daily is currently working to explain the discrepancy between the statistics.

About Alice Phillips

Alice Phillips '15 is Managing Editor of News at The Stanford Daily. Previously, she worked as the paper's Deputy Editor, Chief Copy Editor, a News Desk Editor and a News Staff Writer. Alice is a biology major from Los Angeles, California.
  • Swatcash1012

    Yes, an increase in alcohol-related incidents and the death of campus social life. That’s exactly what I would call a “success.”

  • Priorities?

    Good to know theft is up sixty percent and our police force is focusing on bike safety. Maybe if they weren’t so busy protecting us from 90 pound drunk girls stuff would stop getting stolen from our cars and rooms. 

  • Bluegrassgrl

    Wow. The tremendous negative trends dwarfs the claim of success noted.
    It would be a blind bureaucrat who would lay claim to these facts being
    positive.  It would show greater leadership and example to say we’re trying some things which we like, but there must be tremendous changes or we will drown ourselves in denial. I hate to see us look like Dartmouth- awash in alcohol with inept leadership at the University level not up to the challenge of bringing sanity back.  This cannot be acceptable, beyond sad.

  • Guest

    Re: the bicycle issue. I have a lot of suggestions.

    1. SUDPS officers should distinguish between two types of intersection behavior. Many, if not most, responsible, safe cyclists roll through a stop sign at reduced speed if there are no waiting cross-direction cars. Carrying some momentum into the intersection gives the cyclist more options if a critical situation arises. Motorists safely roll through stop signs, too, but note that cyclists (a) have much greater ability to see and hear cross traffic, and (b) have a much greater need to carry a little momentum forward into the intersection when possible. SUDPS should focus on the real problem, which is the bicyclists who either (a) continue through a stop sign at full speed, thus reducing their ability to observe traffic conditions or (b) completely deny cross traffic right of way. If SUDPS officers would focus only on such irresponsible behavior, we could more effectively curb it. Once an officer is tied up ticketing a cyclist who did the typical safe roll-through with no cross traffic present, the officer can no longer be on the lookout for the real problem cyclists. This is true on campus as well as off.

    2. Golf carts, especially for some reason on party nights, seem to be driven very irresponsibly. They’re far more dangerous than bicycles. Ticket them.

    3. Construction sites often have trucks and opaque fencing placed without thought about potential hazard to cyclists, in particular blind corners. One of the jobs of the campus bicycle coordinator should be to bicycle daily along construction sites and make suggestions to the construction crew to improve safety. One of the worst bicycle-bicycle accidents I’ve seen on campus involved opaque construction fencing.

    4. West Escondido Rd and parts of Lomita Dr and Mayfield Dr near Tressider and the first few row houses should have a 15 mph speed limit for *cars*. Especially on party nights, there is some very aggressive, irresponsible driving on these roads.

    5. Bicycle lights are an obvious issue. It would be easy to look into stocking the campus bike shop with small long-lasting LED lights that hook into pockets. Simple and easy. Bar-mounted lights can be frustrating, which probably demotivates students to do anything about it. But note that the light issue still has complexities. Pedestrians don’t use lights, right? Yet bicyclists and cars have no problem avoiding them on campus. The real issue is that dark bicycles (and pedestrians) become invisible when in an environment having a lot of spotlight-like lights, such as on a road. These other lights make seeing unilluminated objects difficult. A side issue is that bicycle lights are often hard to see from the side. Solution to all these problems: Set up permanent *directed* (not omnidirectional) lights at key intersections that light up a path across the road. A bicylist (or pedestrian) following this light path across the road would be illuminated.

  • Test

    Petty theft is pretty hard for the police to stop.

    People have suffered terrible bicycling injuries and there has been at least 1 death. I would say bicycle safety is a pretty big deal. One that is pretty annoying, but one that is more serious than we’d like to admit.

  • Derp

    For alcohol transports, how many did Trancos have alone? As a resident last year and hearing the reputation this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the uptick in transports came from Trancos alone 

  • Trancbro

    As a current Trancos resident, let me tell you that this a popular yet extremely deceptive misconception around campus. Trancos has been associated with four alcohol-related transports this year (more than other freshman dorms but certainly not single-handedly responsible for “most of the uptick”), of which two were visiting students who do not even attend Stanford. Our other two transports were both under somewhat unconventional circumstances. 

    I would credit the rise in transports to excessive caution, at least in some cases.

  • Derpaderp

     Good point, I’m sure they were just being cautious. Of course, no one under 21 would be drinking, so they must have transported the RAs. What a shame…it’s a good thing the residents were looking out for those irresponsible RAs though.