Baylor University continues to see a rise in alcohol-related violations, a trend that campus police said has become a bigger enforcement priority.
The Baylor Police Department recorded 83 alcohol violations — including 71 at on campus residence halls — in 2012. That’s a 14 percent increase compared to the 62 alcohol- related cases the school had in 2011, and represented a third year of increased alcohol incidents on the dry campus.
Colleges and universities are required to publish crime statistics annually in accordance with the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act.
Alcohol arrests also increased at Texas State Technical College — from five in 2011 to eight in 2012 — but still remained below a peak of 18 cases in 2010.
McLennan Community College did not have any reported alcohol use violations during the past three years.
“From the police’s point of view, alcohol is our single greatest issue of all the categories of things we deal with, by far,” Baylor Police Chief Jim Doak said.
“Invariably, they’re trying to hide it, or they come in (to residence halls) intoxicated, which is a dead giveaway, and the police get involved. . . . Unfortunately, many students choose to make not-so-good choices by getting involved in alcohol off campus.”
Doak said the primary concern is students attending off-campus parties and consuming alcohol, then returning to their residence halls inebriated.
Off-site celebrations in honor of Baylor’s annual spring Diadeloso also command a heightened police response, and Baylor teams with the Waco Police Department to work cases of public intoxication or underage drinking.
The increase in alcohol use is of particular concern because it can also become a factor in other on-campus crimes, such as theft or even some date or acquaintance rapes, Doak said.
Baylor in 2012 had two reported rapes, both of which occurred in residence halls. Both of those incidents involved acquaintances of the victims, and neither woman chose to press charges against their assailants, Doak said.
The university did not record any rapes in 2010 or 2011. But Doak said female students have reported rapes to an on-campus counseling center, but opted against reporting the incidents to police.
Some victims also could have been assaulted in off-campus housing, and those cases would be handled by the Waco Police Department.
Doak said each semester an officer and one of the counseling center staff visits each of the residence halls for small-group discussions with female students about rape and what options are there if they become a victim of sexual assault.
“We are available, we make ourselves available, we talk about it openly, but we don’t want to impose our will upon them. It needs to be what do they wish to do,” Doak said.
“Law enforcement is an option, counseling is an option . . . there’s a number of places they can go, and we work with them to make sure they get the level of assistance they would like to have or they need.”
At TSTC, the number of reported forcible sexual assaults remained at three for the second year in a row at the campus, but represents a drop from four rapes reported in 2010.
“The vast majority of them occur in family housing where the victim and suspect are both known to each other and reside in the same household,” TSTC Assistant Chief Brian Davis said. “We’re not talking about a coed jogger and a man in a ski mask. . . . these are the hardest to address in law enforcement because we cannot patrol living rooms.”
But overall crimes decreased at TSTC to 69 incidents, down from 80 in 2011 and 118 in 2010. The number of burglaries dropped by 10 to 43 cases, while drug-related arrests totaled 20, compared to 25 in 2011.
TSTC Police Chief Henry Gudenau attributed the decreases to an increased patrol presence on campus. While the size of the department has not increased in recent years, Gudenau said officers are more visible and do regular walkthroughs of campus facilities and also make a concerted effort to build a rapport with students.
TSTC last year also purchased a K-9 dog to use for drug searches, which Gudenau said likely contributed to lower drug arrest numbers because students see a visible enforcement presence on campus.
“We actually are out there in the community more, going through more of the buildings, actually getting out of the cars and walking through the subdivisions,” Gudenau said. “That effort has continued (from last year), and it’s been very popular with the residents out here.”
MCC’s crime stats show another relatively low-crime year, in which the police department logged no robberies, aggravated assaults, sexual assaults or burglaries on campus for a third consecutive year.
MCC also saw a drop in burglaries at off-campus housing units reserved for student-athletes. That figure dropped 58 percent, from 12 in 2011 to five in 2012.
MCC Police Chief Larry Radke said the college usually adds new surveillance cameras annually to amp up security, but that the lower crime statistics may be a byproduct of having few students linger around campus during the day.
“We’re basically a transit college,” Radke said. “We don’t have on-campus dormitories, so that makes some of the difference, I would think, not having people housed here on campus.”