Overall crime and liquor issues decrease in 2015-2016 report


Overall crime and liquor issues decrease in 2015-2016 report

By Campus Reporter

The college’s most recent annual crime and safety reports saw a decrease in crime collegewide, including a 40.9 percent drop in liquor violation referrals and a 35.6 percent drop in drug violation referrals.

According to the 2015–2016 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, released Sept. 30 with figures from the 2015-2016 school year, a total of 501 disciplinary referrals were issued for liquor law violations in 2015-2016. This number dropped to 296 in 2014-2015, according to the report. Drug abuse violation referrals dropped from 244 in 2014-2015 to 157 in 2015-2016.

The statistics for other offenses, including rape, robbery and burglary, have also decreased. From 2014 to 2015, rape incidents dropped from five to three, robbery from four to two and burglary from six to four. No instances of dating and domestic violence were reported on public property in the 2015–2016 report, though there was a slight increase in those offenses on campus property.

Increases in crime included domestic violence incidents occurred on campus in 2014, and four in 2015. Five incidences of dating violence occurred on campus property in 2014, while seven occurred in 2015.

“There certainly are incidents of concern that occur near our campus, but we’re fortunate to have excellent police coverage and dedicated police officers working in our neighborhood and around our campus who do a very good job to help keep our campus safe,” said Ronald Sodini, associate vice president of the Safety and Security Department.

The 59 E. Van Buren dorm building were not included in Columbia’s crime tally, the most recent report stated. Violations reported within the building was included in previousannual reports until Columbia stopped leasing the property in 2015.

Sodini said the 59 E. Van Buren Building alcohol policy was less strict than other Columbia dorms. Sodini also attributed the decrease in disciplinary referrals to the loss of this dorm.

“That prior dorm had a different policy for drinking that allowed drinking for those over the age of 21, and our [other] dorms don’t allow that,” Sodini said.

The 59 E. Van Buren building housed approximately 450 students, about 20 of whom were Columbia students. Disciplinary referrals included in the annual report are not limited to those issued to Columbia students but also include students living in Columbia-inhabited buildings, according to Mary Oakes, director of the Residence Life Department. Roughly 2,600 students stay in the five housing building Columbia continues to use, according to Oakes.

The drop in disciplinary referrals may also be attributed to the decline in students in campus housing facilities, Oakes said.

“At our highest, we have roughly 2,600 students on campus, and now we have 2,500 students on campus, so that can [contribute] to those statistics,” Oakes said.

The drop in referrals may also be a result of students going off campus to use substances, according to junior cinema art + science major who lives in the Residence Center, 731 S. Plymouth Court, Willem Cohen.

“There are still people getting drunk, there are still people using drugs, but I don’t think it’s happening within the locality of Columbia,” Cohen said.

The Security Department continues to make efforts to reduce the occurrence of crime on campus by increasing ID checks for individuals entering Columbia buildings, offering informational seminars for students on safety and working towards installing blue-light phones around the campus, according to Sodini.

“We’re going to do all we can to try to strengthen the safety and security of our campus,” Sodini said. “We know what our objective is and that is to deliver, or to help deliver, a safe and secure environment for all of our people.”