The Annual Security Report for 2016 was recently published, showing some changes in crime rates around campus.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette crime rate is relatively low, considering it is home to more than 19,000 students from across the world.
“We really have a campus of good students,” said Carl Tapo, Sr., the associate dean of students. “We don’t really have a campus that’s out of hand.”
Tapo is the interim director of the Office of Students Rights and Responsibilities, which handles the disciplinary procedures in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct.
The Annual Security Report compared statistics from 2014 and 2015. The data comes from the properties the university owns, such as the Cade Farm, the New Iberia Research Center and UL Lafayette’s campus.
“It can be hard though, as many residents do get irritated or mad at us,” explained a resident adviser, who chose to remain anonymous, “but every policy we have is for residents’ safety.”
Various types of crimes are represented in the report: criminal offenses such as burglary, arson, and motor vehicle theft; violent crimes such as murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault; referrals and arrests for violations involving liquors, drugs, and weapons; and Violence Against Women Act offenses such as domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
Most of the criminal offenses and violent crimes decreased or stayed the same, except for robbery and burglary, which both saw slight increases. Most of the VAWA offenses decreased as well, except for an increase in domestic violence.
The biggest change in data throughout the year concerned liquor, drug and weapons violations. For weapon possession violations, there was a slight increase in the number of people arrested and a slight decrease in the number of people referred.
Since 2014, fewer people have been referred for liquor law violations, but there has been a slight increase in the number of arrests from 2015 to 2016. Most of these violations are taking place on campus, specifically the residence halls. The UL Lafayette Police Department mentioned some of these violations must be handled case by case. For example, if a student who is of age is in possession of alcohol they are not breaking the law, but they are breaking campus policy which determines what the consequence will be.
The largest increase was the number of drug law violations. Both the number of arrests and referrals increased from 2015 to 2016 with all the violations taking place somewhere on campus. Although ULPD said it is not exactly sure why there has been such an increase, some speculate it has something to do with an increase in student population and the legalization of marijuana in other states.
“Each and every day we always look at things we can do as an agency, things that we can share with the university and community, of things that we can do as a community of how we can always decrease numbers,” said Lt. Billy Abrams, the ULPD public information officer.
ULPD added that in the cases of liquor and drug violations, they want to know why students are committing these crimes.
“One of our main focuses when dealing with things on campus is making sure if a student does have a drug problem or alcohol problem, is that they get to the proper resources,” said Greg Zerangue, the Clery compliance coordinator.
UL Lafayette offers free counseling to all registered students, faculty, and staff. The Office of Students Rights and Responsibilities has an “open door” policy and a “Dean on Call” program so students can get help 24/7.
“Conduct is something that we address, it’s not who we are, so we thrive on assisting students, helping them; anonymity is important and we support that,” Tapo said.
View the 2016-2017 report below. The statistics used for this article can be found on pages 92-95.