Public Safety reports decreased crime in 2012

Oct. 7, 2013

Nick Beadleston
[email protected]

Recorded crime was down in 2012 despite growing enrollment, according to Public Safety’s Annual Security Report & Fire Safety Report released Sept. 30.

Data from UCCS institutional research indicated just fewer than 9,800 students attended the university in 2012, about a 5 percent increase from the previous year.

Several crimes that had been exceptionally closed (in which the victim chose not to press charges) were factored into past statistics.

On-campus accounts of theft, weapons violations and sex offenses were all down from 2011 and previous years.

Arrests for liquor law violations, as well as referrals for disciplinary action pursuant to said offenses, are also down. McPike credits this to the CHOICES program.

Students stopped for non-felony liquor offenses are given the chance to attend the CHOICES, a 90-minute alcohol abuse prevention program geared at helping student make informed choices regarding alcohol consumption.

Students who complete the program are generally not subjected to further disciplinary action for that offense.

“We take an educational approach,” said McPike. “If [students] make a mistake, we would rather give them the opportunity to learn from it.”

“I think that’s a good difference between campus police and [city] police,” said Claudia Ryan, Public Safety’s operations manager.

Both McPike and Ryan indicated this option is left to the discretion of the officer and is generally based on the compliance of the student. Students charged with more serious offenses, such as DUIs, are processed by campus police and then passed on to CSPD.

There has been a spike in drug law violation arrests, 12 more than 2011. McPike attributes this to recent changes in state drug law. He stated that, despite any state ruling on legalized marijuana, since UCCS receives federal funding, no amount of marijuana is permissible.

Another statistic that rose from previous years was vehicular theft. McPike attributed this to multiple incidents of stolen late-model Honda Accords during the 2013 spring semester.

He indicated these crimes were part of a larger vehicle theft ring, which was broken up due to collaborative efforts between multiple local law enforcement agencies including UCCS police.

UCCS police have an intergovernmental agreement with Colorado Springs Police Department, which allows them to respond in place of CSPD officers.

According to McPike, the role of campus police when assisting CSPD is usually to provide back up or to “contain and maintain a scene.”

In compliance with the Clery Act, and to ensure accurate crime recording, UCCS currently employs approximately 200 campus security authorities (CSAs). These non-law enforcement individuals act as intermediates between officers and victims or others who notice crime.

“Some students or faculty may not be comfortable reporting incidents to campus police,” said Ryan.

Ryan stated that it is not up to the individual CSA to determine if an event is a crime.

While CSAs are trained to report crimes, they are not trained in evidence protection. Procurement of physical evidence in crimes, particularly sexual assault, can be time-sensitive.

According to Ryan, CSAs are encouraged to bring victims to campus police after learning about crimes.

No fires were reported in 2012. The last recorded fire on campus occurred in the 2010 in the Antero dorm. There was minor property damage due to an electrical fire. The incident was ruled unintentional.

The report was released in compliance with the Department of Education’s Clery Act. The act, which was signed into law in 1990, requires financial aid dependent universities to disclose information regarding crime on and around their campuses.