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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Crime changes during summer, according to UAPD”

The UA campus looks a little different in June and July. The temperature begins to creep over 100 degrees and fewer students can be seen roaming campus.

For campus police, the mission of protecting the UA community does not change with the seasons, but the challenges they face shift when the summer exodus hits campus.

“”Generally during the school year, we have education programs that are going on, but in the summertime we have a combination of everything,”” said Sgt. Juan Alvarez, public information officer for the University of Arizona Police Department. “”So the community changes a little bit, we don’t necessarily have the same number of students, but there are people here because there’s always something going on.””

Between programs for high school students, numerous summer orientations for incoming Wildcats and a plethora of summer camps for people from across the nation, the fluctuation in the campus community is the biggest summer shift for law enforcement.

Alvarez noted that the UAPD generally deals with “”crimes of opportunity”” during the summer.

The UAPD recently issued a campus-wide warning to not leave laptops unattended in the library, in response to an increase in laptop theft.

“”If you don’t know that there is a problem, how are you going to take steps to combat that threat? So that’s why we put (campus alerts) out there,”” Alvarez said. “”The campus is open all the time, regardless of whether school is in session or not. There’s no wall that separates the public from coming onto campus and we encourage people to come to campus … but if someone is intending on committing a crime, they can get on campus.””

The UAPD staff numbers do not change between the summer and the rest of the school year, as they play an important role when dealing with traffic enforcement and theft calls — their most common calls over the summer.

Each day, the UAPD places daily crime reports that relay the volume and types of calls they receive. There is a marked difference between the makeup of calls campus police receive in a week of February or March as they do in June or July, Alvarez said.

On an average day of police work when school’s in session, such as April 14, as many as 40 calls came in, with most calls being a false alarm, theft or a request to check on someone’s welfare.

However, during an average summer day for the UAPD, say June 14, around the same number of calls come in to the department, but the number of traffic enforcement calls skyrocket — 10 percent of the day’s calls — and the same crimes of opportunity, which were prevalent during the school year, also rise. This reflects the shift the season represents: summer changes campus demographics. 

“”Our programs and our efforts are ongoing,”” said Alvarez, noting that this summer has been typical with crime, as the number of students has dipped from 40,000 to 4,000.

During his years with the UAPD police force, Alvarez has noted there are certain steps that both campus community members, as well as law enforcement officers, must take to work together to try and cut off opportunities for crime within the community.

“”We have to remind our community to keep an eye on their property and remove that opportunity for crime to occur. Teachers, when they leave their offices, need to make sure their offices are secure, their lab spaces are secure, so that people that do come on to campus and are intending to commit crimes, that opportunity is removed, and if you see anything suspicious, always report that to us,”” Alvarez said.

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