Campus crime statistics for 2006 were recently released at UCSB, and while instances of theft are down significantly, drug arrests have increased by over 50 percent in the past year.
The statistics, which were made available last week, show that larceny theft – generally associated at UCSB with stolen bicycles – fell from 372 instances in 2005 to 303 last year. Meanwhile, drug arrests increased by about 51 percent, from 72 to 109 instances.
The statistics are released annually by the university as mandated by the Clery Act, which was created in response to the rape and murder of Jeanne Clery, a freshman at Lehigh University in 1986. The act requires all colleges and universities participating in federal student aid programs to disclose detailed crime statistics.
According to UCSB Police Dept. spokesman Matt Bowman, the numbers are prone to arbitrary fluctuation every year. He said this is due to the high population turnover of college campuses.
“The statistical data that’s captured through the Clery Act is a consistent measure [of crime] because the same things are evaluated year after year,” Bowman said. “[However,] it’s hard to say there’s even a pattern. Every year we see a big turnover in our population, which makes it a little difficult to make a comparison.”
Other crimes hovered around the same levels as 2005. Forcible sex offenses rose from seven reported instances to 10 this year, while liquor related arrests rose from 44 to 59. Burglary, which as opposed to larceny-theft involves entering a residence, fell slightly from 55 events in 2005 to 47 last year.
Bowman said that a spike in statistics may result from increased enforcement and not necessarily increased rates of crime. With the 2005 inception of the College Alcohol & Substance Education program, residents of UCSB’s residence halls faced increased enforcement of alcohol and drug-related citations. The CASE program underwent a substantial expansion in 2006, doubling the number of counseling classes it offered to 16.
“With CASE being the success it was, they had added additional staff,” Bowman said. “They were encouraging it to be utilized.”
This emphasis is reflected in the rise in liquor law referrals from 1,188 total in ’05 to 1,390 last year. Drug referrals also increased by a total of 41 occurrences to 276 in 2006.
The statistics include areas directly adjacent to the campus, as well as university-affiliated residence halls like Tropicana Gardens. However, information was unavailable in several categories for Isla Vista. In areas where the data was collected, the number of I.V. crimes generally surpassed those on campus. Burglary, for example, was far more prevalent in I.V, with 2006 seeing 171 episodes to UCSB’s 47.
Additionally, aggravated assault occurred 45 times in I.V., while only three instances were recorded on campus. Bowman said UCSB is an overall safe environment to live in.
“UCSB is not a traditional community with people staying long term [and committing the same types of crimes],” Bowman said. “For the nine years I’ve lived here, the campus has been a very safe community.”