University of Alaska Initiates Crime and Arrest Reporting

University of Alaska Initiates Crime and Arrest Reporting

John E. Angell

Angell, John E. (1992). "University of Alaska Initiates Crime and Arrest Reporting. " Alaska Justice Forum 9(2): 1, 6-8 (Summer 1992). The federal Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act (CACSA) of 1990 was passed in response to concerns about the failure of universities to make campus crime information available to the public. This article presents Justice Center progress and results in the collection and reporting of University of Alaska crime and arrest statistics under CACSA. In 1991 University of Alaska campuses reported a total of 41 offenses and 68 arrests reportable under the act.

The first system-wide crime statistics for the University of Alaska were compiled by the Justice Center for 1991 in compliance with the federal requirements of the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990 (CACSA). This federal act was passed in response to concerns about the failure of universities to make campus crime information available to the public. It requires all institutions of higher education receiving federal student assistance to collect, annually publish, and distribute statistics on six of the eight Uniform Crime Report Part I crimes (i. e. , murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, motor vehicle theft, and burglary), and on all arrests for liquor law, drug abuse, and weapons offense violations occurring on their campuses and extension sites. (Although the act does not require coverage of the crimes of larceny-theft or arson, the Justice Center compilation does include arson. Due to incomplete data the larceny-theft category was not included. )

The compilation of crime statistics for the University of Alaska system is complicated by the large number and broadly scattered locations of university educational sites and the corresponding number of police agencies providing services to those sites. The Alaska Department of Public Safety and eighteen local law enforcement organizations across the state, however, made special efforts to ensure that complete and accurate data were provided to the Justice Center. Police incident reports, available to the Justice Center, were used to verify the accuracy of crime classifications provided by police and to eliminate duplication of reporting caused by the involvement of two or more agencies in an incident. Data accuracy was further checked by appropriate university officials at the various sites. Hence, despite shortcomings in the data collection methods, a reasonable level of confidence in the reported statistics is justified.

The University of Alaska system has nearly 3,500 employees statewide who provide a variety of services to the general community in addition to serving over 30,000 students. To perform its responsibilities the University of Alaska is divided into three administrative regions: 1) University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA); 2) University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF); and 3) University of Alaska Southeast (UAS). Although the primary operations of each of these university divisions are confined to its regional area, each also administers specialized instructional and research programs in other parts of the state. Consequently, to meet federal guidelines, crime statistics were also organized by the University's three administrative regions.

University-Wide Crime and Arrests

Forty-one crimes in the CACSA categories of concern were reported to have occurred on University of Alaska instructional and research sites during 1991 (Table 1). There were no reported murders (UCR category of Criminal Homicide) or robberies on university property. Nearly one-half of the crimes (20 of the 41 total) were in the UCR category of burglary. These burglary offenses were nearly exclusively in unoccupied office buildings. The remaining offenses reported include four forcible rapes, six aggravated assaults, seven motor vehicle thefts, and four arson incidents. Sixty-five arrests were initiated for liquor, two for drug, and one for weapons law violations.

Table 1. CACSA Crimes and Arrests at the University of Alaska, 1991

University of Alaska Anchorage

No incidents in the categories of murder, rape, or robbery were reported on any University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) campus or educational site (Table 2a). The most frequently reported offense at UAA sites, and the only offense reported at sites off the main Anchorage campus, was burglary. Six of the eleven reported burglaries were on the main Anchorage campus, with two additional reported at off-campus sites in Anchorage, one reported at the Eagle River extension, and two reported at the Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna.

Five aggravated assaults, five motor vehicle thefts, and three arsons were also reported on the Anchorage campus. Only one of these incidents, an aggravated assault, resulted in injury to a person - a cut which was inflicted with a sharp instrument and required outpatient treatment for the victim.

Twenty-five people were arrested for liquor violations on the UAA sites in 1991, but there were no arrests for drug or weapons offenses.

University of Alaska Fairbanks

The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) region (Table 2b) had fewer reported crime incidents (16) than UAA (24). As with UAA, burglary (9) was the offense most frequently reported as occurring at UAF sites . Only three of the nine burglaries were on the main UAF campus. Five occurred at the Arctic Sivunmun Ilisagvik College in Barrow and one was reported at the UAF Marine Advisory Program office in Anchorage. The main UAF campus in Fairbanks also had four incidents classified as rape and one aggravated assault. Other than the previously mentioned burglaries, the only recordable offense reported on UAF educational and research sites away from the main Fairbanks campus was a vehicle arson at the Poker Flats Research Range.

The only UAF arrests were on the main campus and at the Bethel Cooperative Extension Service facility. Nearly all these arrests were for alcohol offenses. The four Bethel arrests and 36 of the 39 arrests on the UAF main campus were for liquor offenses. Two people were arrested for drug law violations and one was arrested for a weapons offense.

University of Alaska Southeast

The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) in 1991 had only one reportable offense - a motor vehicle theft - and no arrests were made on its educational and research sites at Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan (Table 2c). The theft occurred at the main Auke Lake Campus in Juneau and the vehicle was recovered.

Conclusions

The University of Alaska 1991 crime statistics support a conclusion that University educational and research sites across the state are relatively free from serious crimes, although the levels of reported rape at UAF and aggravated assaults at UAA are cause for concern. 1991 is the first year American universities have been obligated to collect and report statistics. Comparisons regarding the University of Alaska and other universities are not possible. It is also not possible to determine if the 1991 statistics represent a typical year for the university.

The number of arrests for liquor offenses at UAF and UAA is evidence that alcohol related incidents may indeed be a serious University of Alaska problem. The ratio of 35 alcohol arrests per drug arrest at the University of Alaska may be reason for assessing policies and practices related to alcohol and drugs.

John Angell is Director of the Justice Center. Allan Barnes, Roger Miller, Kathleen Traxinger, Amy Dellinger and Melissa Green of the Justice Center contributed to the collection and compilation of data for the report on University of Alaska crime.