There were significant increases in robberies and liquor law violations between 2010 and 2011, while most other crime rates remained fairly stable, according to the 2012 Annual Security Report released by the Department of Public Safety this weekend.
The report contains safety information and tips for students, as well as crime statistics in categories such as forcible sex offenses, robbery and drug and alcohol violations between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2011. Liquor law violations increased from 29 to 59, and robberies increased from seven to 11.
Students found violating alcohol, drug and weapons policies are typically referred to the Office of Student Life for disciplinary follow-ups, as opposed to facing arrest. Though disciplinary referrals for alcohol violations sharply increased, there were no arrests in any of the three categories. Disciplinary referrals for drug violations decreased by 26 percent. There was a slight increase in disciplinary referrals for weapons violations - four in 2010, and six in 2011 - which usually result from ceremonial knives or swords being discovered during room inspections, said Paul Shanley, deputy chief of police for DPS. The OSL could not be reached for comment.
Most of the robberies in 2011 were cell phone thefts, Shanley said. The majority of the robberies occur on public property. Thieves snatch phones from unsuspecting students at night and run away, sometimes escaping on bikes.
Cell phone robberies have increased across the country in the last six months, Shanley said, adding that profits for stolen phones can be significant.
DPS encourages the use of applications like Find My iPhone. Six cell phones were stolen last week - three from Brown students - and use of the application led to the apprehension of three suspects and the recovery of four phones. Shanley stressed that students should be aware of their surroundings at night and keep their phones out of sight.
DPS also has plans to introduce a new personal alarm system for the class of 2017, Shanley said. The new model will be smaller and easier to carry than the current design and will come in a variety of colors, he said.
Laptop thefts remained stable last year, Shanley said, adding that he thinks heightened awareness about the need to lock doors and the use of the DPS laptop tracking software prevented a further climb in theft incidents.
Crime in categories outside robbery and liquor law violations remained consistent. Forcible sex offenses declined slightly, with seven instances compared to nine in 2010. There were two cases of aggravated assault and no incidents of homicide, negligent manslaughter, non-forcible sex offenses, motor theft or arson. The full report is available on the DPS website.