Widgets Magazine

Mental health related 911 calls, bicycle safety concerns increase

Campus crime figures from the past three academic years before show rising trends in mental health cases and bicycle safety concerns as well as a decrease in alcohol-related crimes due to greater attention from the Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS).

Mental health concerns

Calls to 911 concerning mental health issues rose over time. Such cases are scenarios in which people are committed to a hospital because it is believed that they have become a danger to themselves or to others.

In the 2010-11 school year 27 such calls were made to report mental health issues. The number increased to 37 cases in 2011-12 and rose to 62 in 2012-13.

According to Wilson, this rise in mental health-related calls does not necessarily correspond to a growing number of students dealing with mental health issues.

“It could be a reflection that more people are willing to call about someone for whom they should have called four years ago,” she said.

PrintGreater alcohol enforcement

Regarding alcohol concerns, there was a 25 percent drop in alcohol-related medical transportations from the 2011-12 academic year to the following one.

There were two instances during 2012-13 in which 911 was called for alcohol-related medical reasons, but Palo Alto paramedic crews determined that the cases did not require transport. These types of incidents occurred nine times in 2011-12 and not at all the year before.

Further alcohol reports showed that DUIs dropped from 16 to 7 during the period between September 2012 and April 2013. Drunk in public cases followed a similar downward trend in the same time span, declining from 48 to 31.

Cases of minor in possession (MIP) of alcohol showed a steep upward trend. Compared to 23 cases in 2010-11 and to 24 in 2011-12, there were 45 cases in 2012-13.

SUDPS Chief of Police Laura Wilson ’91 attributed these alcohol trends to an increase in the SUDPS staff as well as a rise in the number of officers at parties to prevent burglaries by students in dorms to which they do not normally have access.

Despite enforcement efforts, total burglaries increased from 52 during 2011-12 to 80 in 2012-13 school, with an increase from 15 to 26 dorm burglaries and 14 to 25 vehicle burglaries. 

Bike safety issues increase

Bike theft has hovered around the same number over the last three years, with 65 cases in 2010-11, 63 in 2011-12 and 67 in 2012-13. However, the issue of bike safety has become a greater concern. Last September, the SUDPS issued 103 citations, whereas September 2011 saw only 52 bicycle citations.

“We’ve been doing a lot more enforcement, like our bicycle diversion class,” said Wilson. “Eighty percent of people who receive a citation attend the bicycle diversion class, so there’s no monetary penalty for anyone in the community who’s received a citation for that first violation.”

Safety education efforts

As far as programs that the SUDPS is currently implementing to reduce crime in general, Wilson states that it will be continuing its “dorm liaison program,” which involves assigning an officer to each house and dorm on campus. These officers are encouraged, at the beginning of the year, to contact the residential assistants and participate in a house meeting as part of the department’s grassroots, face-to-face safety education efforts, according to Wilson.

“[We’re] trying to put a face on the Stanford Police Department so that the first contact [with the department] isn’t because you’re getting a bike cite or an MIP,” she added. “We’re doing a real push to meet student out in the field.”

Wilson hopes that as a result of these efforts, the SUDPS will become more familiar to the community, and can work with alongside it to promote health and safety at Stanford.

About Liam Kinney

Liam Kinney is a hip young thing from Aspen, Colo. He has been a contributing writer at the Daily for a year, and now has his own column. Currently a sophomore, Liam is a prospective Classics and Symbolic Systems double major. He enjoys finishing books, cooking edible food, and reaching the top of the climbing wall - in other words, he is rarely satisfied.