Public Safety plans for shooting contingencies, releases annual crime report

Two UCCS police officers interact with people outside the UC on campus.
Megan Lunsford | The Scribe
Oct. 5, 2015

Evan Musick
[email protected]

Public Safety issued their Annual Security and Fire Safety Report Oct. 1.

The report complies with the federal Clery Act, which requires colleges and universities to disclose information regarding campus crime and security policies. The report released Oct. 1 covers data from 2012-14.

The Clery act came about when Howard and Connie Clery’s daughter was murdered at Lehigh University.

“There was no reporting before the death of their daughter, and so the Clery family got involved and lobbied the federal government,” said Brian McPike, executive director of Public Safety.

McPike said the intent behind the report is to allow parents to look at the campus ahead of time and evaluate its safety.

The report shows multiple statistics on crimes ranging from theft to drug and alcohol law violations. Theft is one of the highest crimes reported, and included reports from the UCCS police department and other law enforcement agencies.

There were 56 reported cases of theft in 2014.

McPike explained that much of the cases of theft are opportunity crimes. He said a student may set their laptop up in the library, leave to get coffee and come back to their laptop stolen.

Alcohol law violation arrests were down from 2012 and 2013, while disciplinary referrals were up. In 2014, 24 arrests were made, while 78 referrals took place.

“I don’t have a steady reason for that, other than the fact that the kids, if they’re contacted, and they’re cooperative, that’s a big part of it, then they’re referred for disciplinary action,” said McPike.

Another reason, he said, was that UCCS PD may not have come across the same number of people who required action beyond a referral.

Drug law violations were up from 25, with a total of 41 reported cases. McPike said this may be due to more off campus people visiting the university.

If a non-student is on campus, and they are contacted for an illegal drug violation, they will receive a summons, which counts as an arrest.

McPike said UCCS is having more non-UCCS affiliated people come on campus.

“We’re becoming more of a destination for more of the population. And they are getting off the buses, or finding their way up here, and if we have contact, then we give them a (trespassing) notice,” said McPike.

McPike explained that what public safety does to keep the campus safe differs from other schools.

“I think that when you look in the state of Colorado, we’re fortunate,” he said, explaining that other schools do not have a police force, instead they have trained security forces.

McPike added that UCCS PD looks to have a presence that serves as a visual deterrent.

In light of the Umpqua Community College shooting that occurred on Oct. 1 in Roseburg, Ore., McPike explained that they did not have a campus police force.

“No armed guard on their campus,” he said. He added that one of the students at the college said it “seemed like forever” for police to arrive.

“Our response time is going to be much quicker for an incident than it would be for waiting for a local PD or sheriff’s office to show up. Because if that ever happens here, that’s going to be the response; it’s going to be ‘everybody comes,’” he said.

McPike mentioned that local police forces, including UCCS PD, meet monthly. There is a training exercise in the works for next spring. It ensures that in the event of a campus shooting, all local forces know how to react.

Lennix Caragao, freshman game design major, said there “doesn’t feel like anything bad to worry about.”

He also said the presence of UCCS PD around campus is noticed.

“They are there in case something does happen,” he said.

Justin Tucker, sophomore biology major, agrees.

“I think they’re pretty good actually,” he said “They’re on point.”