Campus crime up

Crime is on the rise at Chico State University, and campus police don’t seem to know why.

Liquor-law violations in the campus police’s jurisdiction that required disciplinary action or judicial review nearly doubled from 2002 to 2003, jumping from 669 cases to 1,083. In the same time period, drug violations increased from 193 to 309 and illegal-weapon possessions went from two to 13.

Those numbers come from a report on crime statistics released by the University Police Department for the 2001, 2002 and 2003 calendar years. The report covers all crimes on and adjacent to campus as well as those involving any student organization. The report is somewhat incomplete, as it does not include recent numbers from the Chico Police Department.

The rise in crimes involving drugs and weapons at Chico State is considerably higher than that of both Sacramento State and San Francisco State universities and raises questions as to how safe students actually are at Chico State. Burglaries are also up, as are arsons (two, compared to none in 2002) and vehicle theft from residence halls. The good news, however, is that motor vehicle theft and forcible-sex offenses on campus are on the decline, as are aggravated assaults in campus residence halls.

University Police Sgt. Paula Carr sees the bright side of the increasing numbers—less reluctance to report crimes on the part of victims or witnesses.

“It shows that people are more comfortable in reporting crimes,” she said. “If you are a victim we need to know about it. We might be able to tie one crime to another, but only if it is reported.”

Although she agreed the statistics could be viewed as negative, she makes a point that opinions may vary upon second look. For instance, the rise in campus disciplinary actions could indicate that efforts to keep drug and alcohol overdoses from increasing are working.

“It’s exciting.” Carr said. “The statistics are there for the public’s knowledge and to keep their eyes open in order to protect themselves.”

Carr was unable to comment on the statistics of other California state universities but did want to make it clear that each individual school’s statistics are subject to interpretation. At San Francisco State, liquor violations fell from 115 to 31, drug violations dropped from 136 to 42, and campus police recorded just one weapons violation. At Sacramento State, liquor law violations were constant at six, there were nine drug violations and no students were caught with weapons.

As required by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, all colleges and universities with student-aid programs must publish the annual report by Oct 1.

The statistics can be accessed on the Chico State University Police Web site at