BR campuses record no ’12 homicides
While college campuses in Baton Rouge enjoyed another year in 2012 without any homicides, some experienced a slight rise in other major crimes from 2011 to 2012, according to recently released crime statistics.
The stats were released in accordance with a federal law that mandates all campus crime stats must be publicly reported each year by Oct. 1.
The annual report must include crime stats for that calendar year and the two previous calendar, not school, years.
They have to report robberies, burglaries and other major crimes on campus but are not required to disclose arrests made in those cases. The only arrests departments must report are drug, liquor and weapons laws violations.
At Southern University, the campus experienced a big jump in burglaries and slight increases in robberies, sexual assaults, motor vehicle thefts and aggravated assaults.
While police made drug and weapons law violation arrests, there were no alcohol law violation arrests for at least the third consecutive year, something not even Southern Police Chief Ronald Stevens can explain.
“I really can’t explain that one, I won’t even try,” Stevens chuckled. “I won’t say the lack of any numbers here dictate that there’s not any drinking going on. We just haven’t seen it and they evidently are doing a good job if they are drinking to keep it out of our sight.”
Stevens said he wishes every column in the crime stats list had a zero next to it and is especially not happy with the number of sexual assaults, burglaries and robberies that his officers dealt with in 2012.
He noted that all of the robberies were simple robberies, not armed robberies.
“We’re not in the business of hiding it; we want to deal with it and deal with the suspects who commit those acts,” he said.
At LSU, the Police Department dealt with slight increases in robberies, burglaries and aggravated assaults.
Drug law arrests increased, while weapons and alcohol violation arrests stayed the same.
They also investigated three incidents classified as hate crimes.
In those three cases, LSU Police spokesman Capt. Cory Lalonde said, the instances were fairly minor but were classified as hate crimes in accordance with the criteria of the federal law mandating annual crime reports.
One incident involved derogatory racial comments were found in a note in a custodial closet, and the other two occurred when tensions flared at a gay rights rally, leading to a harsh exchange of words and a punch being thrown.
People were arrested with assault and intimidation, Lalonde said.
“In the big scheme of things, it’s relatively minor incidents,” Lalonde said.
Lalonde said the biggest crime problem on campus is something not counted in the federally mandated report: theft. He said LSU Police investigated 378 thefts at LSU in 2012, down from 392 in 2011 and 416 in 2010.
Both Stevens and Lalonde said any increase in crime and incidents is attributable at least in part to campaigns instituted on the campuses to get people to call in suspicious incidents.
Lalonde said they instituted a “see something, say something” campaign in 2011 and they immediately saw an increase in calls for service.
“I don’t think that accounts for all the increases, but I think it would be fair to say that it does have a big part in the increases,” Lalonde said.
“We know generally what goes on on campus, but the most effective we can be is when the community is engaged. They’re our extra eyes and ears.”
At the Baton Rouge Community College’s South Acadian campus, the crime stats show no major incidents or arrests made by campus police in 2012.
At the college’s Mid-City location, campus and city police, which help patrol the campus, saw a decrease in robberies and burglaries from 2011 to 2012. The number of weapons and liquor law violation arrests at that campus remained the same.
The low crime numbers may be partially attributable to the fact that there are no residential buildings on campus, but Baton Rouge Community College Police Chief Genoria Tilley also praises the vigilance and visibility of her officers as another reason for the low numbers.
Tilley said the college does crime mapping, looking at where the incidents occur, and has officers patrol areas where crimes have occurred to try to discourage future crimes.