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Summary of UWW Police Incidents 2006-2007

Throughout the 2006-2007 academic year, there was campus activity that increased and
decreased from the previous year and others that indicated student behavior patterns that are
worth further study and exploration. The data discussed is from UW-Whitewater campus police
reports from August 28, 2006 – May 20, 2007. This data includes student and non-student related
incidents.
There are several areas that contained the most activity out of all incident categories. Out
of 75 incident types, disorderly conduct (4.4%) rescue calls (7.3%), theft (9.3%; when including
burglary 11.6%), traffic collision (4.9%), and underage alcohol (15.5%) were the most common.
When examining the data distributed by location and time, there are particular trends that have
occurred.
The beginning of the academic year, late August to mid-September, have the highest
activity for disorderly conduct, operating while intoxicated (OWI), underage drinking, and
rescue calls placed. With an increase in underage alcohol incidents from 81 in 2005-06 to 138 in
2006-07, it is also not surprising that the number of cases involving OWI’s has more than tripled
(7 in 2005-06; 24 in 2006-07) and disorderly conduct has increased (27 in 2005-06; 39 in 2006-
07). Not all disorderly conduct or OWI’s could be verified as student-related, however, the
increases in both areas with the increase in underage drinking incidents is clear.
All four areas continue to follow a similar pattern through the academic year, peaking
again in mid-October, during first-semester finals week, at the beginning of second-semester,
and during mid-April. Most interesting are that these incidents do not follow a path aligned with
major campus events, such as Homecoming, or holidays that often encourage drinking or other
behavior such as St. Patrick’s Day. The trends appear to mirror the academic schedule. More
dangerous or experimental behavior, many of which involves disorderly conduct or drinking
underage, takes place in early Fall, until near mid-semester when the reality of classes begins to
settle in for most students. Incidents peak again during finals week, likely attributed to wanting
to spend time with friends prior to break, more available free time due to the distribution of the
exam schedule, and apprehension among students regarding returning home demonstrated
through more dangerous behavior. A similar pattern occurs during spring semester, with an
increase at the beginning of the semester likely due to reuniting with friends and celebrating with
the return of the semester, peaking before and after spring break, and again close to finals week
but prior to the last month of final projects, papers, preparation for graduation and/or moving
away for the summer. Although the causes are purely anecdotal, it is clear that there is a lack of
disorderly conduct, underage drinking, and OWI occurrences during times such as Homecoming,
Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day where the campus has become more aware of potential high-
risk behavior during those times. Past data should be examined to see if these patterns are
apparent over time.
Unlike underage drinking, OWI’s, disorderly conduct and rescue calls, it wasn’t until
mid-to-late September that burglaries, thefts, and property damage (including private and public)
became apparent in the academic calendar. Patterns of burglary, theft and property damage
tended to follow one another but were not in direct correlation to underage drinking, OWI’s,
disorderly conduct or rescue calls. Outside of when classes were not in session, there were
significant decreases in burglary, theft and property damage from 9/4-9/10, 10/9-10/15, 10/30-
11/5, 3/5-3/11, 3/19-3/25, and 4/30-5/6. With situations such as these, when frequent theft or
property damage becomes apparent to the community, often the perpetrator will back down for a
period of time, increasing activity following a break. For example, times such as Homecoming
week (10/9-10/14) would experience less theft and less property damage to the activity increase
on campus and additional events in the evening hours.
Looking at the frequency in campus crime, areas that should be focused on for next year
that showed increased incidents include students ticketed for operating while intoxicated, which
experienced a large increase since 2005-06 (from seven to 24), and underage drinking (from 81
to 138). Disorderly conduct increased as well since last year (27 in 2005-06 to 39). There are of
course many factors involved with the increase of any given incident, however these areas in
particular would be worthwhile to evaluate in comparison to influences such as additional police
staffing or other policy and programmatic changes made.
Although burglary and theft still make up a bulk of campus crime, there was a decrease –
from 142 incidents (calculated as “theft” only in 2005-06) to 102 (combination of the categories
theft and burglary for 2006-07). Additional thought should be given to that area in regards to any
new initiatives that have taken place over the past year to educate or prevent campus theft from
taking place. To understand the change in theft incidents, although a considerable portion of
campus incidents, examination by location and changes or educational information provided (e.g.
additional signage, information brochures, etc.) to see what has been effective.
In addition, examining increases in campus incidents, it should also be noted, although it
did not make up a substantial percentage of incidents, there was an increase in campus citations
for various traffic violations – from incomplete stops to failing to yield. The topic and behavior
reflective of student driving habits would be a worthwhile area looking at incidents that could
benefit from additional study and discussion. In light of several vehicle incidents with pedestrian
fatalities, although potentially unrelated to the traffic violations, does create an interesting picture
for student driving habits.
The information provided was based primarily on the campus incidents numbers
provided. Certainly there are many factors involved with the likelihood of any campus incident
occurring, as well as those that act as deterrents. Continued tracking of this information as well
as discussion of the significance of frequency, location and time of incidents will ideally provide
a better picture in understanding student and campus community needs. Looking at other campus
assessment tools that may provide in-depth information on the common values of UWW students
and the influence of the campus culture may provide additional insight as to the decisions
students choose to make that both positively and negatively influence the campus and how that is
communicated through the campus incident information.