Friday, October 24, 2014

Campus crime rate remains consistent

Police say annual report displays no drastic increase or decrease in prohibited behaviors throughout the year

Liberty University released its 2013 Campus Crime Report Oct. 1.

The annual crime report, which is compiled by the Liberty University Police Department (LUPD), provides important information on Liberty University’s Campus safety and crime statistics. According to Police Chief Col. Richard D. Hinkley, the crime rate has been consistent over the years.

“If you look at the stats, it always flows up and down a little bit, but we haven’t seen a huge jump or a huge decline in anything else,” Hinkley said. “Even though we have seen a fairly large increase in population over the last several years, we haven’t seen a huge increase in crime.”

Hinkley said that although the university’s increasing growth of students is a good thing, it has caused a rise in alcohol misdemeanors.

“The one that we see more often than not is the alcohol violations, which is very typical across most campuses,” Hinkley said. “And we’ve seen a jump in that because our population went up. But it was something that, percentage wise, is probably around the same.”

According to Hinkley, the procedures for assembling the report have been consistent over the years, though more detail tends to get added in the subsequent years.

“Every now and then, the federal government changes what has to be reported,” Hinkley said. “For instance, in this year’s report and the last two years’ reports, there is a very large thing in there which is on fire. What fire suppressant systems are in residence halls? How many fires did you have in residence halls? That information was required, so it just adds more information and more detail to that report.”

One change to the report that Hinkley suspects will be made is the reporting of stolen goods due to numerous people asking about how many property crimes the university has. Despite this, Hinkley said the persons crimes on Liberty’s campus have been very low.

“Almost all of these (crimes) have something to do with people,” Hinkley said. “And our persons crimes on this campus have been very low for a long time because I think we have students here on this campus for a particular reason. The Christian attitude and the values make a big difference.”

According to Hinkley, the crime report serves the primary purpose of meeting federal regulations that are specified in one of LUPD’s guidebooks.

“There is just a specific list if you want to compare what (crimes) are out there,” Hinkley said. “We do those particular statistics for the three most recent years. In other words, the 2013 report has statistics on the same sets of crimes for 2012, 2011 and 2010.”

Hinkley said compiling the report involved contacting local law enforcement, people within the university and the Office of Student Conduct.

“We talk to those who are called ‘Campus security authorities’ and get their data, compile it all together and put it in one big report,” Hinkley said. “Then we publish not only online and email it to everybody, but we have to report those statistics to the Department of Education. They are the ones responsible to collect that data.”

The report covers the three previous calendar years from Jan. 1 – Dec. 31. Anything adjacent to Liberty’s property is reported to the Lynchburg police, and the Lynchburg police are not involved with the campus crime report.

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