Crime on campus: A closer look at UAF’s 2011 crime rate
Alan Fearns/Sun Star Reporter
November 6, 2012
Recent crime stats released early last month show the UAF has had higher crime rates than any other campus in the state of Alaska in almost all categories. The exception is in robberies which took place at the UAA and UAS, but none at UAF. However, UAF had 2 burglaries last year.
The difference between these, according to the UAF’s police department, is that a robbery is taking anything of value from a victim, while a burglary is breaking into a building to commit theft.
From 2010 to 2011, UAF disciplinary actions for liquor law went from 93 to 159, drug violations from 13 to 15 and weapon possessions from 0 to 1. As for arrests, they have lowered in liquor, from 56 to 39 and rose for drugs, from 16 to 23. One reason that the liquor arrests have lowered, is campus police are implementing a different process for discipline. Wherever possible, campus police attempt to handle the violations administratively rather than criminally.
“It’s what they refer to as a form of diversion, not overloading an already full court system but try to handle these things where possible in house,” said UAF Police Chief, Sean McGee, in a phone interview.
Perhaps the most significant change was the amount of forcible sexual assault rates that tripled over the period. Forcible meaning against the victims will, while non-forcible includes includes incest and statutory rape. 15 out of the 17 forcible assaults were reports by a single victim whose investigation is still ongoing.
“That’s not unusual; sometimes with everything else that the DA is dealing with in Fairbanks it may take a significant amount of time before they actually get back to us with an outcome,” McGee said.
Sexual assaults are defined as any sexual act directed against another person against their will, but also may include violations of sexual harassment. Not including the ongoing investigation, this is the lowest sexual assaults have been in the past 4 years.
UAF’s relatively high crime rates in comparison to other in state colleges, raise the question of how it represents the campus safety.
“On one hand it’d be nice to say that no it doesn’t because its just one person,” said Sharece Ranbrue, a sophomore forensic chemistry student. ”But on the second hand, what does that reflect about the people trying to catch them?”
Some students were unsure, while others were more apathetic of the crimes.
“Personally, I just kind of don’t care. It’s weird, I guess I should,” said Logan Kunz, a sophomore business student.
McGee has a different view. “In some ways the types of activity that you see here taking place at UAF are going to be similar to the activity taking place in the larger Fairbanks area, the difference being we have a smaller population so it will be a smaller increase percentage-wise.” McGee said
Anchorage and Fairbanks campuses had an equal number of aggravated assaults and motor vehicle thefts. The Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak, and Matanuska-Susitna Colleges had almost no crimes, except for one forcible sexual offense and 6 off campus burglaries at Kenai River.
Only one hate crime was reported at UAF in 2011, which was a campus property vandalism based on a religion bias.
Releases of these statistics were required by the Clery Act, enacted in 1990. The act requires that all universities participating in financial aid programs disclose crime information about their school annually.