Newly released crime statistics published in an annual report show downward trends in several categories, most notably in drug violations.
The PCC Police issued the federally mandated Annual Campus Safety Report last week, which details the number of crimes reported to campus police for the past three years.
The report indicates that drug violations fell from 19 in 2012 to just two in 2013, and liquor law offenses dropped from seven down to one in the same period. Police officials said that there has been no change in enforcement policy and attributed the changes to a more visible police presence on campus.
“We’ve been really pounding the beat,” said Matchan. “Our officers are walking more on campus. Because we’re out there doing the direct enforcement, people get the hint that [they] can’t do that here.”
Matchan indicated that educating the public about the restrictions of a medical marijuana card has also helped lower the figure by reducing the number of people who mistakenly think they are allowed to smoke on school grounds.
“Just because you have a medical marijuana card doesn’t mean it’s a ‘smoke wherever you want’ card,” he said.
Earlier this year the Violence Against Women Act was amended to include a requirement to report statistics on domestic or dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. However, since the updated law was signed in March 2013, the requirement does not take effect until next year’s report, which will contain statistics from 2012-14.
“This year’s statistics, because they just brought [new requirements] into play a month ago, it’s not something we were counting on keeping,” said Sgt. Bill Abernathie. “It’s not something we track because we weren’t required to until this time.”
“The federal government would not take the stats this year anyway, they don’t want them till next year,” he added.
There have been four reports of stalking, two of harassment and one sexual battery on school grounds or nearby since the beginning of September, according to police activity logs.
Thefts rose last year, with 12 robberies and burglaries reported, up from five the previous year.
These include thefts from cars, a problem Abernathie said students and staff can take steps to avoid.
“If you have to store stuff in your vehicle, put it in the trunk,” said Abernathie. “If you leave your laptop or phone in plain sight on the front seat, plan on it not being there when you return.”
Overall, Matchan credits the entire PCC community for the positive safety trends shown in the report.
“It takes a tribe to police a campus,” he said. “When we get numbers like these, everyone deserves to take credit.”