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IU safety report finds campus liquor arrests swelled last year, other changes

On-campus arrests for liquor law violations more than doubled from 2016 to 2017.

According to the recently released 2018 IU Annual Security and Safety Report, there were 118 arrests in 2017, up from 56 the year before.

This spike, however, was not seen across all campus locations. The way the safety report breaks it down, ‘on-campus’ does not include University housing. Residential facilities — on-campus housing — did not face the same increase in arrests, but the overall on-campus numbers still jumped.

The total number of on-campus liquor law-related arrests rose more than 35 percent from 2016 to 2017. 

IU Police Department officials said there’s no direct reason for this shift, but they offered a few theories of what could have happened.

“We didn’t say, ‘Okay, we’re going to go out and see if we can write more tickets,’ or ‘We’re going to go out and try to make more arrests,’” Sgt. Shannon Bunger said.

He said a lot of factors, like weather during prime partying weekends and the number of home football games in a season, can affect these arrests statistics.

“If you had seven home games versus six, and you have that one game that it’s really hot, you have a high attendance, you have a lot more opportunity to have people arrested,” Bunger said.

Lt. Kevin Lauerman floated a different idea.

“I would speculate that probably we paid more attention to certain problem areas that were brought to our attention by the University community,” he said.

Lauerman agreed that the fluctuations could be based on anything.

"Everything goes in waves,” he said. “You have a party where all of a sudden you lock up 50 people for underage drinking, and there’s your spike right there.”

Overall, referrals for disciplinary action related to liquor laws dipped about 18 percent in 2017.

The safety report also detailed a 700 percent increase in students referred for disciplinary action for drug law violations between 2016 and 2017. Thirty students were referred in 2016, and 240 were in 2017.

These referrals are processed through the Dean’s Office, according to Lauerman. The office did not respond to a request for comment on the jump in the numbers.

Most other categories on the report remained fairly steady. Twenty rapes were reported to IUPD in 2017, up five reports from 2016 but down nine from 2015. Twenty-five stalking incidents were reported in 2017, the same number as in 2015 and slightly up from the 2016 numbers.

Lauerman said the best way to stay safe at IU is to follow the advice parents generally dole out.

“Just general safety tips that your mother and father would give you going into college — remember them,” he said. “Write them on your hand if you have to.”

Lauerman volunteered a few tips of his own for staying safe on and off campus. He said one of the most important things is to never drive after drinking or get in the car with a drunk driver.

“If you’re going to use Spotify and Pandora, please put Lyft and Uber on your phone as well,” he said.

He also said it’s crucial to trust police.

“We very much respect the students on campus, and we encourage all of you to come and meet with us if you have issues or problems,” Lauerman said. “We’re very good at what we do.”

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