Drug Violations up According to Crime Report

Photo by Nicole Williams

Alcohol violations were down. Drug abuse was up. And violent crime, comprised mostly of domestic incidents and sexual offenses, showed minor increases.

That was according to the annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report for 2013, issued last week.

The report, required by law, includes offenses committed in any college-owned property, on or off-campus, as well as the immediate area surrounding the College. The crimes committed “may involve individuals not associated with the institution,” according to the report.

“Public Safety puts together the report each year, drawing upon data from its office, the Office of Student Conduct, the Fire Marshal and the Mahwah Police Department,” said Stephen Hudik, assistant vice president of communications and public relations.

No crimes were committed on non-campus buildings or on public property. Rather, all of the reported incidents took place on campus, which was defined by the report as any property owned by the College in the immediate area that support Ramapo’s “educational purposes,” including residence halls.

Alcohol violations at Ramapo seem to be decreasing from year to year. Only one arrest was made for liquor law violations last year, a number that has decreased in the past three years. Disciplinary referrals for liquor law violations follow that trend, with 350 reported last year, as opposed to 397 in 2012 and 592 in 2011.

While alcohol violations were down, arrests and disciplinary referrals for drug abuse violations were up compared to the past two years. Last year, 45 arrests were made for drug abuse, whereas in 2012, 26 were made; in 2011 the number of arrests was 24. Drug related disciplinary referrals also increased last year to 21 from 13 in 2012.

“I feel that alcohol violations have been down because Public Safety has been less prevalent at the Village,” said junior Chloe Bass. “As far as drugs go, I’ve noticed less drugs on campus, but maybe they’ve just been catching more people using them."

There were five reported forcible sexual offenses last year, an increase from 2012’s three reported incidents. Counts of domestic violence also increased, with eight incidents reported last year, compared with six in 2012.

“You don’t really expect, with alcohol violations going down, that people would be acting like that. You’d think they’d be making better choices,” said freshman Joe Gorga.

Aggravated assault charges stood at two, increasing from the prior two years, which both reported no aggravated assaults.

The only crime that neither increased nor decreased since 2012 was robbery, with one occurrence. The only crime that decreased was arson; coming down to two incidents from six in 2012.

That being said, there were no reported incidents of criminal homicide, burglary, hate crimes, stalking or dating violence. Barring burglary and stalking, Ramapo has had no occurrences of any of these crimes in the past three years. With these statistics in mind, students, like Bass, said they generally feel safe on campus.

“Yes, I feel safe on campus. I’m more afraid of animals on campus. I never feel, walking around at night, that anything’s going to happen to me,” said Bass.

The report also included a log of the six on-campus fires that occurred last year, only one of which caused costly damage. According to the report, a fire caused by lighted candles in Pine Hall cost $1,275 in damages.

The complete report, with all reported offenses and definitions of each crime, is available on the Public Safety website. According to Hudik, the safety of the campus community is of the utmost importance to Public Safety Officers and the College at large.

“The College’s priority is to provide for the safety and well-being of its students and employees,” said Hudik. “We encourage all to report issues, concerns and incidents to Public Safety and the appropriate College offices for review and investigation. The statistics have not varied much in recent years. While every incident or crime is a concern, the report does portray in general the level of safety on campus.”