Burglaries, Stalking and Hate Crimes
Under federal law, known as the Clery Act (20 U.S.C.A. § 1092), every college and university that receives federal funding is required to file a variety of reports annually, including those related to campus crime. This year’s reports, including those for Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University and Grand Canyon University, show results that some have described as “disturbing.” We’re not sure that label is appropriate.
Initially, the number of rapes on campus has remained about the same over the past year. And there were no murders or manslaughter cases at ASU, NAU or GCU. While one homicide was reported at UA, the incident appears to have resulted not as a campus incident, but rather from a fight between a driver and a pedestrian more than 10 miles from the campus; the pedestrian was shot and killed and was eventually discovered on UA-owned property.
The news was not uniformly good or bad. The number of aggravated assaults rose at ASU and UA but was down at NAU. As for burglaries, the number nearly doubled between 2015 and 2017 at UA’s main campus but has declined steadily at ASU’s Tempe campus. Burglaries nearly doubled at the UA main campus over the past two years, but burglaries have steadily declined at ASU-Tempe. Burglaries were also down at NAU and GCU.
Stalking charges increased significantly at ASU (Tempe), and the percentage increase at all campuses was up by over 80%. This may be attributable, however, to the expansion of the definition of the crime to include electronic stalking and the use of social media to stalk victims.
Some of the campuses reported an increase in drug crimes, including a 60% increase at NAU. On the other hand, drug arrests at the main campuses of ASU an AU decreased, respectively, by 7% and 9% over the past year.
Finally, hate crimes rose slightly at UA and ASU, although in terms of absolute numbers, the incidence of hate crimes is low. For example, the rise at ASU involved a total of 2 such crimes, up from just one the year before.
In sum, while there have been increases in criminal charges in several areas, an examination of the details show that these represent a relatively small number of incidents. When the picture is viewed as a whole, we don’t believe any firm conclusions can be reached that would support the notion of a trend of increased crime on college campuses in Arizona.
Law Offices of David A. Black
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Phoenix, AZ 85004