Campus alcohol arrests more than double in 2007

by Jess Hoogendoorn

Arrests involving alcohol violations more than doubled on the Lawrenceville campus between 2006 and 2007 according to a report released by Rider on Oct. 1.

The university is required to distribute an annual security report as part of the Security Act of 1990. The report contained three years of crime statistics for both the Lawrenceville and Westminster campuses.

Lawrenceville campus arrests, residence-hall arrests and disciplinary actions involving alcohol violations all went up. On-campus arrests increased from 42 to 100, residence hall arrests increased from 32 to 90 and disciplinary actions increased from 285 to 335 from the 2006 to 2007 calendar year. On-campus residence hall arrests take place in any residence hall or Greek house.

Dan Higgins, executive director of University Communications, said the administration anticipated the number of violations to grow as a result of new administrative policies.

“There’s an increased administrative presence on both campuses and heightened awareness throughout the entire campus population of the dangers of binge drinking, so we anticipated an increase in the number of reported violations,” Higgins said.

However, Westminster’s alcohol violation statistics either stayed the same or decreased. There were no arrests for liquor violations on the Westminster campus and the number of disciplinary actions went down from 43 to 19 from 2006 to 2007.

“It really is difficult to compare those student populations,” Higgins said. “Especially considering the fact that the on-campus resident population on Lawrenceville itself has increased so much over the past couple of years.”

Since the populations are so different, making a comparison using only the statistics available in the report is very difficult, according to Higgins. He also said that the statistics can be misleading because one incident may result in multiple violations.

“There could be one event that leads to 30 violations and that makes it difficult to compare year to year what exactly is going on just by using these statistics in this report,” Higgins said.

In the report, liquor law violations were defined as the violation of laws or ordinances prohibiting the manufacturing, selling, transporting, furnishing and possessing intoxicating liquor; maintaining unlawful drinking places; bootlegging, operating a still; furnishing liquor to a minor or intemperate person; using a vehicle for illegal transportation of liquor; drinking on a train or public conveyance; and all attempts to commit any of the above mentioned. Drunkeness and driving under the influence are not included in this definition.

The report follows the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Hierarchy Rule, which states that if a person has multiple offenses for one incident, only the most serious offense is counted for the report.

Despite the high numbers, Higgins said the university is encouraged by the progress that the Presidential Task Force on Alcohol, Personal Responsibility and Student Life has made in educating students about the dangers of binge drinking.

“We want to promote personal responsibility and make Rider an even safer, healthier learning environment for all our students,” he said.

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