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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Alcohol related arrests up

By Ana Breton

If you are driving near campus, you might want to pay careful attention to the cars around you. New data shows that the number of people arrested by U Police for drunk driving nearly doubled last year.

According to a new report released by the U Police Department, the number of alcohol-related arrests, mostly DUIs, almost doubled in 2006 from the year before.

Of the 209 arrests, 195 took place on public property near the U and involved drunk drivers, said Capt. Lynn Mitchell of the U Police Department.

Most DUI cases occurred during the late night or early morning hours and during the weekends, Mitchell said.

“We’re trying to tighten our stance and take a proactive approach to reduce the number of alcohol-related offenses,” Mitchell said. “We’re really taking it to heart to make streets safer.”

Most of the 14 other liquor law arrests took place during football games, and involved minors with possession of alcohol or public intoxication cases, Mitchell said.

This has prompted officers to improve security at Rice-Eccles Stadium for the last couple of years, Mitchell said.

“We’re checking for alcohol with people entering the stadium and having people either dump it or take it to their cars,” Mitchell said. “We’re also enforcing more inside the stadium, in case there are a couple of students sneaking a six-pack under their coat, for example.”

The number of liquor law violations that involved people being referred for disciplinary action also increased by 15 cases between 2005 and 2006.

However, the cases did not take place off campus.

All 195 cases in 2005 and 209 cases in 2006 where Housing and Residential Education staff members referred people to police took place in residential buildings on campus.

“What can we say? When students come in, they are expected to follow the dry campus policy…that’s part of their housing application,” said Barb Remsburg, assistant director of housing. “Our RA staff would love not to address alcohol issues. They have far better things to do, like build a community, but it’s just part of their job.”

On the other hand, the number of burglaries on campus decreased significantly from 60 in 2005 to 4 in 2006. The decrease was mostly due to the incarceration of several friends of students living in the Residence Halls who were breaking into dorm rooms and stealing property, Mitchell said.

“The individuals would come up and visit friends and say they were looking for so and so,” Mitchell said. “No one would really stop them or apprehend them.”

But although the individuals who caused the “rash of burglaries” that spanned more than a year are now in prison, efforts to stop more burglaries have not been halted, Mitchell said.

“Even though they are in prison, that’s not to say we solved all burglary problems,” he said. “But it did stop an awful lot of (the) problems we were having.”

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