The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

77° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Breaking down annual University of Arizona fire and safety report: Crime, trends, more

Students+pass+by+UAs+iconic+water+fountain+in+front+of+old+main+on+a+sunny+spring+day.
Olivia Malone

Students pass by the University of Arizona’s iconic water fountain in front of Old Main on campus on a sunny day during the spring 2023 semester.

The University of Arizona released the 2023 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report last month, detailing campus crime statistics, ongoing efforts to increase campus safety and available campus resources, among other things

The Jeanne Clery Act, which makes necessary the release of this ASR, “requires colleges and universities to report campus crime data, support victims of violence, and publicly outline the policies and procedures they have put into place to improve campus safety.

The UA’s ASR, put together by the UA Compliance Office and other partners, includes statistics from the past three years of reported crime that have taken place on the UA campus and in various university-owned off-campus properties. 

Domestic violence and available resources

Intimate partner violence remains a prevalent issue in most college environments, and while there is work being done to fight this problem, the UA is no exception. According to the ASR, in 2022, there were 83 total rapes reported and 79 cases of dating violence reported. As noted by the report, 64 of the 83 reported incidents of rape and 64 out of the 79 reported incidents of dating violence “occurred in the context of a dating relationship over a period of months in 2021.”

The university offers resources for survivors of this violence, and members of the campus community are working to increase awareness and implement educational initiatives that may prevent it. 

Elise Lopez, the executive director for the Consortium on Gender-Based Violence, has worked extensively on intervention programs related to sexual violence and substance-abuse, among other topics.

Currently, Lopez and her team in the College of Public Health are working on a program called “Transforming Wildcat Culture,” which trains students to recognize certain risk cues and factors as they relate to not just dating violence, but many of the other Clery report crimes as well. 

“With ‘Transforming Wildcat Culture,’ we cover the beasts that you read about in the Clery report, things like consent, alcohol, bystander intervention, statistics and definitions,” Lopez said. “We’re also able to tailor that presentation when different departments want us to come in and do prevention for their students. We’re starting to see a lot more departments on campus that are really trying to take a proactive approach in addressing these types of Clery crimes.”

In addition to this training, Housing and Residential Life staff, as well as members of Greek Life, have updated the resources they use when responding to reports of violence. 

“Last year, we worked with Greek Life on a lot of prevention efforts, but one of the things they had specifically requested in Greek Life was comfort kits for survivors that included just basic things besides resources, like journals with journal prompts that might help them in their healing, essential oils that might help them with relaxation,” Lopez said. “Housing caught on to that, and so we’re now working with them to prep these survivor comfort kits that the RA’s will also have as a resource there for students.”

UA crime data trends

Some of the most frequently occurring reported crimes on campus, according to the report, had to do with liquor law arrests and liquor law disciplinary action. In 2022, there were 78 liquor law arrests and 452 incidents of liquor law disciplinary action. Both of these areas showed a decrease from the numbers listed in 2021: 104 arrests and 570 incidents of disciplinary action.

According to the ASR report, the number of motor vehicle thefts across campus also increased from 14 reported in 2021 to 29 reported in 2022. This problem persists in 2023; just last month, the UA Police Department sent an email to the student body addressing an increase in the number of vehicle thefts on campus. According to the notice, seven thefts had taken place between Aug. 21 and Sept. 11 in parking garages, lots and various streets across campus.

While the report sums up annual crime data, individual crime records are analyzed daily in order to look for trends or highlight specific points of concern, according to UAPD Chief Chris Olson.

“I look for trend data. One great example is that we’ve had 70 occurrences of vehicle break-ins, vehicle theft or vehicle criminal damage (vandalism) since the beginning of school to Oct. 10. I can see that data over that period, but I’ve been paying attention to it because I’ve seen the daily crime logs,” Olson said. “What this tells the PD is that it’s time to employ surveillance countermeasures, high visibility patrols, to work with our partners at Parking and Transportation and [facilities management] to get their assistance from their staff members to report any suspicious activity. It informs us that we might need to put out, and we did, with the vehicle thefts, a CLERY timely warning to let the community know that we’ve had an increase in this.”

The UAPD issued a series of recommendations in light of these thefts, including: 

  • “Close all windows and lock all doors before leaving your vehicle
  • Remove valuables from your vehicle
  • Consider anti-auto theft and tracking technology
  • Park in well-lit areas
  • If you see suspicious activity in the parking lots or around campus, call 9-1-1.
  • For additional safety tips please visit uapd.arizona.edu and safety.arizona.edu

In 2022, the UA campus also saw a slight increase in hate crimes. The Clery report defined hate crimes as “a criminal offense committed that manifests evidence that the victim was intentionally selected because of the perpetrator’s bias against the victim.” 

There were four reported incidents of aggravated assault characterized by sexual orientation bias, one reported simple assault characterized by national origin bias, three reports of intimidation characterized by national origin and ethnicity bias, one report of intimidation characterized by racial bias and one report of on-campus destruction/damage/vandalism of property characterized by gender bias. 

For reference, in 2021 the UA witnessed one on-campus act of vandalism characterized by racial bias and one report of public property vandalism characterized by racial bias.

The UA employs both enforcement and educational measures to prevent occurrences of hate crimes on campus. 

“We work with [the Threat Assessment and Management Team] to measure the threat assessment to either the community, a specific community group, marginalized community member or other individuals,” Olson said.  

Olson noted that the UAPD also works with the hate crime task force at the FBI to assess these concerns. 

Campus safety

The UA only reported one fire in 2022. The fire was in Pima Residence Hall, located at 1340 E. 1st St. According to the report, “an electrical fault in a bathroom ceiling fan” caused the fire. While there were no reported injuries, the total damage caused by the fire amounted to $18,598.11.

All residence hall employees are required to participate in intensive safety training, which includes fire safety, according to Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer for University Compliance Mary Beth Tucker. 

“The RAs, and desk assistants to some degree as well, certainly the community directors, go through a pretty intense period of training over the summer,” Tucker said. “It runs the range from how to work with students that are in trauma, how to respond, how to respond to parents, how to monitor for alcohol use or drug use in the dorms, how to handle first aid issues and other immediate or urgent needs before first responders can arrive.”

Many updates have been made to campus safety policies since the 2022-23 academic year, policies which university officials believe help to mitigate the instances of Clery report crimes. 

The Office of Public Safety is one of the biggest of these changes, and has played an instrumental role in improving campus safety and coordination between different teams, according to Olson.

“What I love is it’s no longer just a police matter to solve these issues of safety and crime. We have a whole community approach with OPS, and I think that one is the biggest changes,” Olson said. “Second is how we manage threat assessment under the leadership of Dr. Semmann, our offices here at the department and how we’re working with the Dean of Students. […] These units working together, we’re coalescing.”

An example of this coordination is utilization of and training for “stop the bleed” kits. The “stop the bleed” program, built by the American College of Surgeons, teaches people how to care for a severely injured person. According to Olson, the UA facilities management and parking and transportation teams will receive “stop the bleed” training in order to increase the number of people on campus who can provide emergency care when needed. 

“We’re looking to train all facilities maintenance personnel, everyone from custodians to electricians, on how to utilize ‘stop the bleed’ kits, because if there was an emergency, fire and police are probably busy doing other things and we might not be able to get to places where we need to get,” Olson said. “FM has 600 employees on this campus and how great is it for them to have the ability to render emergency first aid care to someone that needs it.”

These different initiatives feed into a wider campus discussion about safety and security, a conversation which is furthered by the information provided through the ASR report.

“[The report] is a variety of things that impact offices on campus and also housing, because there are components that are related to fire safety in residential housing, or other policies related to those who live on campus, related to safety of the facility […] but also personal safety,” Tucker said. “The idea more generally, the reason for the law itself, is so that individuals, whether it’s prospective students [or] parents, can see something where there’s some ability to really compare apples to apples across different universities, colleges across the nation.”


Follow the Daily Wildcat on Instagram and Twitter (X)


 

More to Discover