The Arizona Desert Lamp

Agents of the Nanny State

Posted in Campus by Connor Mendenhall on 6 October 2008

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: UAPD’s annual “Campus Safety and Security Report” is hot off the presses! The highlight of the annual publication (mostly a dull dump of department policies and safety tips) is a rundown of campus arrest statistics, reproduced for your enjoyment below:

I’m not sure why UAPD chooses to present four-year stats. Beyond allowing students to pick out their own individual contributions to the arrest totals over the course of their college careers, four years of data isn’t particularly useful. In fact, it’s just enough to make wildly erroneous inferences about campus crime trends. For a clearer look at UA crime, check out this Google spreadsheet, where I’ve collected, graphed and analyzed arrest data from UAPD reports dating back to 1998, which is a little bit better.

So, which sort of infractions result in the most arrests by University police? I’ll give you two guesses:

Yep, victimless drug and alcohol violations. According to UAPD, arrests filed under “Liquor” include:

The violation of law or ordinances prohibiting the manufacture, sale, transporting, furnishing, or possessing of intoxicating liquor; maintaining unlawful drinking places; bootlegging; operating a still; furnishing liquor to a minor; using a vehicle for illegal transportation of liquor; drinking on a train or public conveyance; all attempts to commit any of the aforementioned.

You know, the sort of crimes officers might need a few AR-15 assault rifles to bust. Oddly, the report contains no definition of arrests categorized under “Drugs,” but I think it’s safe to assume it includes everything from getting caught smoking out your hermit crab in the honors dorm to running a campuswide coke cartel.

Of course, bothering to police both categories of crime — which make up well over 60 percent of campus arrests, and more each year — is a massive waste of officer time, taxpayer money, and individual liberty. I’d much rather see these resources diverted towards the biggest campus crime that imposes significant costs on someone besides the offender: drunk driving, which netted an unsettling 90 arrests last year.

As an interesting aside, as I was wading through data, I discovered a useful chart on page 12 of the 2006 report cataloging use of force by UAPD officers — things like the number of times a gun was drawn, a taser was fired, or pepper was sprayed. It’s interesting stuff, but it doesn’t seem to be published in any other annual report. Sure, it’s public information that can be acquired through UA’s byzantine records request process, but like ASUA minutes, this is the sort of thing that ought to be regularly published — if only in order to find out how many bros are actually getting tased.


7 Responses

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  1. […] Posted in Campus by Evan Lisull on October 7th, 2008 In light of Connor’s sharp post on crime on campus, it’s useful to see the stats in light of one senator’s pet project: […]

  2. […] no fan of abetting campus criminals, but the victimless drug violations that account for almost a third of all UAPD arrests are criminal in name only–or at least, I assumed most of them were. To be […]

  3. […] are indubitably related to drug and underage alcohol offenses, a trend that Connor observed in this […]

  4. […] The Red Tag program, which refers students who host loud parties to the Dean of Students Office–even for activity conducted in their own private homes off campus–started in the spring semester of 2007 and has been in effect since.  One good Red Tag bust can result in scads of underage drinking referrals, so it’s no wonder there’s an attendant increase in conduct cases. Moreover, it fits with UAPD’s zeal for focusing on drug and alcohol infractions. […]

  5. […] as Connor reported last year, the claim is distinctly not true when it comes to actual arrests, in which case thieves […]

  6. […] entirely Commander Sommerfeld’s own admission that this uptick in stats is a reflection of a change in enforcement priorities, rather than any change in behavior among students. Such an uptick is disturbing not because more […]

  7. […] Arizona Police Department has released the 2009 Campus Safety & Security Report [PDF], and like last year’s report it’s chock-full of stats relating to your University police. Last year’s data set has […]

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