Report: Alcohol violations increase

By Ivana Hester

Columbia’s campus saw a 23 percent increase in crime overall for the year of 2011, according to the most recent campus crime report.

While the 2012 Annual Crime Statistics & Fire Safety Report, released Oct. 1, showed a small increase in areas such as motor vehicle theft, most of the increase can be attributed to liquor law violations in student residence centers.

“The issue is not for us to find these individuals who are violating college policy and the state law,” said Martha Meegan, director of Campus Safety & Security. “What we want is to create a culture that recognizes that you don’t need to have alcohol at this age.”

The number of liquor law violations increased from 257 in 2010 to 358 in 2011, according to the report.

Drug abuse violations on campus jumped by 23 with a total of 176 in 2011, the report said.

There was a total of 12 drug-related arrests in student residence centers and another 43 on public property, according to the document.

The report also found that incidents of non-forcible burglary non-forcible burglaries from 2009 –– 2010, the number of reported burglaries rose to 17 in 2011, with all but one occurring on campus.

Cases of forcible sexual assault in dorms also increased from 2010 with 3 to 7 in 2011, the report found. Meegan said the increase might mean the college has improved at encouraging victims to come forward and share their stories.

The report defines each crime and details the necessary steps to get help so students are aware of what to do in the case of an offense, Meegan said.

Some students living on campus said they feel safe and are not affected by the report’s findings.

Destiny Hopkins, a freshman radio major who lives on campus in the Plymouth dormitory, said she feels safe in the city because she is a Chicago native.

However, she still takes safety precautions in her dorm.

“Some people keep their doors propped open, but I don’t do that because I like to be aware of who is coming in and out of my room,” Hopkins said.

Robert Koverman, associate vice president of Safety & Security, said he and his staff are continuing evaluations of overall campus security porocedure and how the office responds in an effort to decrease crime and maintain student safety.

“We are starting with the evaluation of the perimeter to make sure we have the appropriate amount of security from a protection and prevention standpoint,”

Koverman said.

Student Affairs, Residence Life and other offices offer programs that address the affects of alcohol and drugs, and promote safe practices and sexual assault awareness, according to Meegan.

She believes the key to lowering campus crime begins with educating the community on safe practices, such as avoiding dangerous situations and binge drinking.

“It’s a community effort to help create safety within our environment,” Meegan said. “My hope is that students get so engaged in exciting projects around campus they don’t have time to behave irresponsibly.”