Alex Wolfe | Staff Writer
This week, Duquesne released its annual fire and safety report for 2016, which outlined a notable increase in liquor-and drug-related arrests.
The report details a dramatic increase in Drug Law Arrests, which increased by 650 percent (4 to 26) between 2015 and 2016, and a continued increase in Drug Law Violations Referred for Disciplinary Action, which increased by about 11 percent (188 to 208) in the same time.
Liquor Law Violations Referred for Disciplinary Action increased from 695 to 832 (19.7 percent), but Liquor Law Arrests decreased from 22 to 13 (41.1 percent).
Other crimes occurred in smaller numbers. For example, incidences of dating violence occurred eight times in 2016, which is an increase from three violations in 2015. Domestic violence increased from two incidences to six. Across the same time period, forced sexual offenses (such as rape) increased from five to eight, and counts of confirmed stalking on campus increased from one to three.
Additionally, three fires occurred in 2016, which didn’t cause as much damage as the two that occurred in 2015. Taking place in Brottier, Towers, and Des Places, the three fires only caused a combined $150 of damage to residential halls.
Finally, members of Assumption Hall were awoken on the morning of Aug. 26 to a dorm-wide smoke alarm due to the sensitivity of the alarms and the new showers which were installed over the summer.
Jack Connolly, a freshman and residence hall fire marshal, believes that in 2016, “Duquesne students got off easily,” because the costs of fire damage were less than the year before, even though there was one more fire reported.
“There were a record number of fire marshals recruited this year,” he said. “Hopefully, this means more students are better equipped to become first responders to the poor decisions of others.”
Tom Hart, Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety at Duquesne University, noticed some of these statistics as well. He believes, “the recent decriminalization of marijuana in some states has contributed to the general acceptance of its use, even while it remains a violation in Pennsylvania.”
While most of the Drug Law Arrests were for marijuana, the numbers are still “relatively low for a student population of approximately 10,000,” Hart said.
In order to combat this, the Office of Residence Life and DU CARES will continue to educate students, and the Office of Residence Life has introduced a program to help RAs identify drugs and drug symptoms to help reduce the number of Duquesne students entering the justice system.
“The Fire and Safety Report confirms that Duquesne University’s commitment to providing a safe and successful environment for students and staff,” Hart said.