Crime

Alcohol and drug arrests up last year at Cal Poly

University police stepped up off-campus drug and alcohol enforcement in 2016.
University police stepped up off-campus drug and alcohol enforcement in 2016. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Alcohol and drug related arrests made by the Cal Poly University Police Department shot up last year as officers increased patrols in neighborhoods near campus.

University police made 23 off-campus liquor-law arrests last year, a substantial increase from the three reported in 2015. Another 35 liquor-law arrests occurred on campus, an increase from the 30 reported in 2015.

There were 37 drug related arrests in 2016, including 16 off-campus. That’s a marked increase from the 16 total drug arrests in 2016 but a decrease from the 60 reported in 2014.

The numbers come from Cal Poly’s 2017 Annual Security Report, which the federal Clery Act mandates for all universities receiving federal money.

“This is from UPD doing more proactive enforcement on streets, parking lots and sidewalks and increasing patrols in the neighborhoods adjacent to campus,” Cal Poly spokesman Matt Lazier said.

Lazier credited the enforcement to a memorandum of understanding between the San Luis Obispo Police Department and the University Police Department approved in 2015, which allows campus police to issue citations and make arrests within a 1-mile radius of the Cal Poly campus. The agreement was response ongoing complaints of noise, large gatherings and alcohol problems in the neighborhoods surrounding Cal Poly.

While liquor law arrests are substantially up, reported motor vehicle thefts all but vanished in 2016 with zero such thefts on-campus. Only one vehicle was reported stolen off-campus. In both 2014 and 2015, there were eight reported vehicle thefts.

Other crime statistics in 2016 remained largely static from the year prior. There were no reported murders, 11 reported rapes (compared to nine the year before) and 12 burglaries (seven in 2015).

“Cal Poly enjoys a relatively low crime rate. The campus’ most frequently reported crimes are property crimes and crimes of opportunity — petty thefts including bicycles, phones, backpacks, the like,” Lazier said. “These are mostly crimes of opportunity, with property left unattended or unlocked.”

He added that reducing property crimes is a focus of the university police.

The security report includes crime statistics for the past three years, broken down by location categories: “Campus,” which includes all buildings on the main campus; “Campus Residential,” which is a subset of “Campus” and includes all campus housing; “Non-Campus,” which includes all off-campus properties mainly used by students, such as fraternity and sorority houses and the HotHouse downtown; and “Public Property,” which includes all the parking lots, streets and sidewalks on campus but which is counted separate from the “Campus” category.

Not all reported crimes resulted in prosecutions or convictions, and the report only includes those crimes that were brought to the attention of campus law enforcement.

San Luis Obispo police issued some alcohol- and noise-related citations during early-morning St. Patrick's Day parties around Cal Poly on Saturday. But students and police said the celebrations were smaller and safer than 2015's massive 'St. Fratt

Andrew Sheeler: 805-781-7929, @andrewsheeler

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