2011 sees sharp drop in liquor, drug arrests

by Laura Bryn Sisson | 10/1/12 10:00pm

Sexual assaults reported to the College and student arrests for liquor and drug violations declined between the 2010 and 2011 calendar years, according to a report released by Safety and Security on Monday in accordance with the Clery Act. The number of students arrested for liquor law violations declined from 134 in 2010 to 40 in 2011, while reported forcible sex offenses dropped from 22 to 15.

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act requires that all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs report statistics for crimes that occurred on or close to campus, fires that occur in college residences and details of college policies and security resources.

The Alcohol Diversions Program, in which underage individuals who are caught violating liquor laws may enroll to avoid receiving a citation, was implemented in 2010, according to Hanover Police Chief Nicholas Giaccone. The decrease in number of arrested students in 2011 is a result of students participating in Diversions to avoid being arrested.

"It's a difference in how it gets recorded," Giaccone said.

This year's report is the first that has seen its statistics affected by the new Diversions policy, Director of Safety and Security and College Proctor Harry Kinne said.

"The 40 arrests don't necessarily indicate the number of encounters the Hanover Police Department would have had with some of our students," Kinne said, speculating that the number of encounters between students and police officers related to alcohol violations has likely stayed the same.

Giaccone also noted that the Hanover Police Department dealt with a total of 314 liquor law violations in 2010, including those perpetrated by Dartmouth students, compared to 219 in 2011. Of the individuals apprehended in 2011, 111 eventually went to court.

"To say whether any particular program or initiative made a statistical impact is premature," Giaccone said of the decrease in total violations between 2010 and 2011.

Forty liquor law violations that did not result in arrests were referred for College disciplinary action in 2011, compared to 24 in 2009 and 39 in 2010, numbers smaller in proportion to the arrests in those years. Good Samaritan calls do not result in disciplinary action and are not included in this category, Kinne said.

Student arrests due to drug law violations totaled 12 in 2011, much lower than the 23 in 2010 but higher than the four in 2009. Kinne said that whether the discovery of drugs results in an arrest depends upon whether the drugs can be attributed to the possession of specific individuals.

"If it's in common areas, [criminal charges are] less likely to go forward," Kinne said.

Safety and Security officers always turn the investigation of a controlled substance over to the Hanover Police Department, he said. Giaccone said that Hanover Police made a total of 46 arrests related to drug law violations in 2010 and 40 arrests in 2011, stating that the 2011 decrease in student arrests over drug violations was "more of a Dartmouth thing."

Forcible sex offenses reported to the College decreased from 22 in 2010 to 15 in 2011, while 10 were reported in 2009.

Kinne attributed the differences to the level of student comfort with sharing information about such a difficult topic, noting that cases of sexual assault tend to be underreported.

"It depends on how comfortable the individual feels in coming forward," Kinne said.

The number of sexual assaults reported to Hanover Police is lower than the number reported to the College, with five reported to Hanover Police in 2010 and eight reported in 2011, according to Giaccone.

"Over the last 18 months, Dartmouth has made great efforts to enhance the resources it offers to prevent and respond to sexual assault," Rebekah Carrow, Sexual Assault Awareness Program coordinator, said in an email to The Dartmouth. Carrow cited the Safe Ride program and a handbook to aid students with assault cases as examples of the College's recent efforts.

The report also detailed an incident in which a vending machine caught on fire in Hitchcock Hall in 2011 due to electrical problems within the machine, causing $1,000 worth of damage, Kinne said. A $300 air conditioner also caught fire due to electrical problems in Morton Hall, and a trash can fire occurred in Judge Hall in 2011.

Kinne said that the College's fire safety system notifies the Hanover Fire Department of detected fires.

Eight fires were reported on campus in 2009, which included cooking fires in Amarna undergraduate society and Woodward Hall that caused no damage and an intentional fire in Alpha Delta fraternity that caused $2,000 worth of damage. Only two fires were reported in 2010.

The report details Safety and Security's procedures and policies, describing the department's resources and working relationship with local police departments. Definitions of different crimes are also included in the report, as well as descriptions of services available for victims of crime on or near campus.

Representatives from Dartmouth Emergency Medical Services declined to comment for this article.

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