The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee provided campus-area crime statistics to students and employees this month through the annual security report provided by the campus police, and it reveals the campus remains safe statistically with almost no violent crime and other crimes numerically dropping.
Although serious crimes are dropping or remaining in the single digits or at zero, there are still areas in the statistics that are growing. Some of these increases are motor vehicle theft, robbery, drug law arrests, and disciplinary referral for drug violations. In addition, the police are reporting more drug and liquor disciplinary referrals.
Hate crimes in total went down from five in 2014 to one in 2015. No reports were made in 2015 on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. The one report was due to ethnicity/national origin. Vandalism of property under hate crimes also decreased from five to one.
UWM’s annual security report entitled “Annual Campus Safety and Fire Report” is updated each year by Oct. 1 and made available to students and employees under the Clery Act to provide information on the university’s crime statistics. According to the Annual Campus Safety and Fire Report, “The Clery Act, the Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act of 2000, and 2013 amendments to the Clery Act via the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, require that UWM report and publish crime statistics along with policies and procedures to be followed in the case of sexual violence, dating/domestic violence, stalking and other crimes.”
The most common examples of crimes that must be reported include homicide, aggravated assault, theft/robbery, sex offenses/rape, arson, weapons possession, hate crimes, alcohol violations, drug violations, property damage/destruction, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence.
When reading the annual report, the reports are made for “on-campus, “non-campus”, and “public property.”
UWM Police Chief Joseph Lemire warns of the confusion that can be faced while reading the report.
“You can have an offense that occurs on the grass right outside the residence halls and that would be considered public property,” he said. “They might have taken two steps to the left and they’re on the side walk, it is then on-campus. It all still might be relatively in the campus area, it is just a question of whether it was the sidewalk, the street, or the grass, that would determine where it would be.”
The tallies do not include crime in the neighborhoods around campus where many students live.
Described below are summaries of the statistics revealed in 2015, according to the annual security report.
Homicide: Murder/ Non – Negligent Manslaughter remained at zero in 2015 compared to one in 2013.
Homicide: Negligent Manslaughter remained also at zero.
Domestic violence decreased in 2015 compared to 2014 from two reports to one report on campus. In 2013 there was four reports on campus. However, reports on public property went from zero in 2013 and 2014 to an increase of four reports in 2015.
Dating violence decreased from three reports in 2013 and three reports in 2014 to one report on campus in 2015. However, non-campus remained at one in 2015, mirroring 2014.
Campus stalking went from one report in 2013 to three in 2014, and then decreased to two reports in 2015.
Motor vehicle theft on campus went down from 2014, having no reports on campus in 2015. However, on public property it bounced from zero in 2014 to four in 2015.
Robbery occurred on campus once in 2015, which was zero in 2014. It also increased on public property from zero in 2014 to two in 2015.
Arson increased on campus from zero in 2014 to one in 2015.
Aggravated assault decreased in 2015, having absolutely no reports on or near campus.
Liquor law arrests remained at zero in 2015, mirroring last year’s statistics. However, in 2013, there was a grand total of 273. This drop is due to an online alcohol education which diverts students.
Burglary decreased fairly substantially in 2015. On campus total went from 33 in 2014 to 10 in 2015 and non-campus went from five in 2014 to two in 2015. Public property reports remained at zero.
Disciplinary referrals for liquor violations also decreased in campus reports from 455 in 2014 to 396 in 2015. However, non-campus went up to 286 compared to last year’s 227. Public property reports also went up to 33 compared to 27 in 2014.
Drug law arrests decreased from 19 to 16 in a year on campus. Non-campus reports jumped from four to 10. Public property also increased from zero to two.
Disciplinary referrals for drug violations decreased on campus from 186 in 2014 to 125 in 2015. But, non-campus reports increased from 61 to 66.
Weapons arrests decreased from two to one.
Disciplinary referrals for weapons violations decreased majorly from six in 2014 to zero in 2015.
Sex offenses – rape decreased on campus from eight in 2014 to three in 2015.
Sex offenses – statutory rape remained at zero.
Sex offenses – incest also remained at zero.
Sex offenses – fondling decreased on campus from four in 2014 to one in 2015. However, non-campus reports went from one in 2014 to two in 2015.
Numbers that shifted in 2015 are due to many of factors.
“There’s some numbers that go down, those things can change based on the focus of a police department sometimes,” said Chief LeMire. “It can change based on the staffing of a police department. Ideally, if the numbers go down we would like to think that all the programs we put into place to educate people on not using drugs, not overusing alcohol, (and) you’d like to think those programs are working,. I think it is lower, but I don’t think it is dramatically lower. To me, it looks relatively consistence.”
In 2015, there was a decrease in many reports on campus. The few that increased in 2015 since 2014 were.
- Motor vehicle theft on public property: 0 to 4
- Robbery on campus: 0 to 1
- Robbery on public property: 0 to 2
- Arson: 0 to 1
- Disciplinary referrals for violations (non-campus): 286 to 337
- Drug law arrests (non-campus): 4 to 10
- Drug law arrests on public property: 0 to 2
- Disciplinary referral for drug violations (non-campus): 61 to 66
- Fondling (non-campus): 1 to 2
Some students are pleased with the statistics and their outcomes in the 2016-2017 annual security report. Student housing administrative council’s (SHAC) business manager of the north tower community council (NTCC) sophomore Abby Ginther was surprised yet satisfied with the report.
“I think the police have been doing a great job at treating college students the same as any other citizen in Milwaukee,” said Ginther. “As students, we are aware of the consequences we could face. The residence halls sees a great amount of alcohol and drug violations. The police follow protocol and students know the consequences. I think that’s just one of the reasons why there is a decrease, especially on campus.”
Some students, however, are concerned about the increases in the report. Program manager at the Studio Arts & Crafts Centre, junior Melissa Mursch felt worried after reading the statistics.
“This is my first year with my car with me very close to campus,” said Mursch. “It’s definitely concerning to hear that car theft is on the rise. I park right outside my house and I am a block away from campus.”
However, Chief LeMire ensures this isn’t a prominent issue.
“I always want to caution people with the statistics especially in columns where there are low amounts,” he said. “You can see there is an increase from say a number from two to a number of five. It seems like a significant increase. However, like in 2014 I know there was a residence halls where there was one person who committed a series of burglaries. That person was found, that person was dealt with, and it goes away, but that increase makes it looks like there’s an increase across the board. Sometimes it’s one person and sometimes it’s within a short amount of time.”
As for the annual fire safety report, there were no fires in the Sandburg Residence Halls, Purin Hall, Kenilworth Square Apartments, or the Cambridge Commons in 2015. There was only one fire in the RiverView Residence Hall which was caused by two students lighting fliers on fire. The property damage was $5.
Overall, the safety report deems the UWM campus to be a relatively safe area. However, off-campus is a different coverage, but this doesn’t measure the crime around campus neighborhoods, which is handled by the Milwaukee Police Department.
“There’s no place in the United States that is completely immune to crime. Nobody is in a bubble. We live in a society made out of human beings,” said Chief LeMire. “We have an active police department and we have a police department that collaborates with a lot of people on campus, it works well and we’ve been working on that and improving on that. But, we look across at the number of crimes that occur and you can tell it is a great place to go to school.”
To help report a crime, contact the UW-Milwaukee University Police. From any campus phone dial X9911. From any other phone call: 414-229-9911. For non-emergency phone calls, dial 414-229-4627. It is important to note that dialing 911 will go to the Milwaukee City Police and not the UW Campus Police. In a situation where time is vital, make sure to have programmed the UW Campus Police as a speed dial in your cellular phone.
Other important resources:
Norris Health Center: 414-229-4716
Women’s Resource Center: 414-229-2852
LGBT Resource Center: 414-229-4116
Dean Of Students Office: 414-229 -4632