Most arrests by UNT police are DWIs, other alcohol-related offenses

Most arrests by UNT police are DWIs, other alcohol-related offenses

February 20
14:06 2017

Haley Yates & Julia Contarelli | Staff Writers

The last annual security report released by UNT shows a total of 127 arrests and 54 referrals related to alcohol in 2015, which is the most recent data available. This is something not uncommon at college campuses of UNT’s size, with alcohol and drug related crimes “always a concern,” UNT police chief Ed Reynolds said.

All universities that receive federal money are required by the Clery Act to release a daily and an annual security report. Some universities also release 60-day reports.

Between Dec. 8, 2016 and Feb. 7, 2017, 160 adults were arrested. The top five violations in the interval included 44 DWIs, 34 drug possessions, 24 possessions of more than 4 ounces of marijuana, 24 public intoxication charges and 21 criminal trespass warnings.

The alcohol-related offenses in this period outweigh all other crimes, with six liquor law violations, six public urinations or defecation charges, 11 charges of consumption of alcohol by a minor, 20 public intoxication charges and 44 DWIs. Not all of those offenses lead to arrests.

In 2015, 220 people were arrested and 264 got referrals compared to 2014 when 151 students were arrested or received a referral due to alcohol violations.

“You see a slight increase from 2014 to 2015,” Dean of Students Maureen McGuinness said. “You have a police chief change there who was tackling the small issues like alcohol and drugs to prevent some of the other ones.”

After 2015, Chief Reynolds replaced former-Chief of Police Richard Deter after he retired that summer.

Major universities in Texas, including Texas Tech, Texas State and University of Houston, had an increase in their numbers from 2013 to 2014, and again in 2015.

The University of Houston has the biggest population at 42,704 students, and the smallest number of offenses, with 66 arrests related to alcohol in 2015, an increase from the 53 in 2014 and 39 in 2013. The average alcohol offenses by the four universities in 2015 equal to 327 incidents annually.

“If you see a college and let’s say they have 38,000 students like we have and in their crime statistics they have no alcohol violations, I would submit to you that their police department is probably not doing their job,” Reynolds said.

Alcohol prevention programs

Education for students struggling with alcohol abuse comes from the Substance Abuse Resource Center or SARC. SARC provides psycho-education and support for students dealing with substance abuse, as well as assistance to alcohol-free students and those trying to cut back.

“When it comes to alcohol prevention, the UNT PD addresses this issue either through education or enforcement,” UNT police Cpl. Kevin Crawford said. “We also have an officer who sits on UNT’s Drug Alcohol Education Task Force. This task force is mixed of several key departments at UNT who collaborate on education initiatives.

Tim Trail, the coordinator for SARC, said the program has its hands in many collaborations on campus, teaming up with the police department and other organizations to educate the public about resources on campus.

“I love to collaborate, because when we’re doing a program, it gives opportunities for students to see different perspectives, and also tons of resources,” Trail said.

When a student receives a drug or alcohol related accusation, the dean of students will often refer them to SARC, Trail said. Once there, the peer-based program aids the students through an approach called “all-recovery.” With this method, students explore topics like depression and anxiety, which are often closely related to drug and alcohol problems.

“What we do here is very different from any other education they’ve received in their lives,” Trail said. “We treat them like adults, and meet them where they’re at.”

UNT’s Recovery Nest, located inside College Inn, provides on-campus housing for students recovering from substance use disorders, mental health illnesses, and other quality of life concerns, according to their website. The Nest is a part of the Life of Purpose program, an outpatient program for students at UNT that are seeking recovery and don’t want the rehabilitation process to affect their education.

Featured Image: Graphic. Julia Contarelli

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Haley Yates

Haley Yates

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