UCPD’s annual safety report reveals increase in arson, illegal weapon possession

Ashley Zhang/Staff

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On Sunday, UCPD released its annual Fire Safety and Security Report, which indicated an overall increase in arrests and a small increase in sex offenses.

Trends in the data have reflected an increased number of arson, burglary, stalking, illegal weapon possession, robbery and liquor violations. The report also reflected a decrease in rape and drug abuse from 2016 to 2017.

The report includes cumulative data from 2015, 2016 and 2017 in relation to fires or crimes that occurred on campus, in certain off-campus buildings owned or controlled by the campus, or on public property adjacent from campus.

In a message from Chief of Police Margo Bennett included in the report, she emphasized campus safety resources available to the community, which include anonymous tipping lines, emergency blue light phones and incident-specific programs such as the Care Line, which aids survivors of sexual violence.

The report is issued campuswide in an attempt to comply with the specifications of the Jeanne Clery Act, which requires universities participating in federal financial aid programs to maintain and disclose campus crime statistics and security information.

One of the most drastic increases in crime was in liquor violations, rising from 395 incidents on campus in 2016 to 517 in 2017.

According to the report, there were 47 drug abuse-related incidents in 2016, decreasing to 45 in 2017. There were 32 reported burglaries in 2016 and 38 in 2017. Stalking continually increased, going from 18 encounters in 2016 to 22 in 2017. There were 12 instances of illegal weapons possessions reported in 2016, rising to 25 in 2017. Arson increased from 2 reported instances in 2016 to 7 in 2017.

There were 25 reported cases of rape in 2016 and 20 in 2017, compared to 12 in 2015.

An email from ASUC Senator Isabella Chow’s office said the shift in reported incidents of rape may be related to the prevalence of social movements dedicated to support survivors of sexual violence.

“One of the reasons I can think of as to why the number of rapes reported increased may be due to the social movements going on, like #metoo survivors feel stronger and more confident in reporting their trauma to the police,” the email said. “The number is not increasing because the crime is increasing (which it may well be) but because survivors feel they will be heard and something will be done.”

In the report, UCPD offered resources for survivors, such as the PATH to Care Center. The report urged survivors of sexual assault to seek medical attention to ensure their physical health. From there, it is advised that they speak with a confidential advocate from the PATH to Care Center.

Campus sophomore Samantha Tang said she thinks that the campus has policies and procedures geared toward campus safety.

“I think the campus is working on it. I’m sure they have policies and people looking out for these things, and I think that’s helpful in improving safety of the campus,” Tang said. “There’s a lot of crime here, so it’s hard to decrease it fully, but I think we’re trying to mitigate it.”

Contact Alexa VanHooser at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @dailycalexa.