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Alcohol offenses, theft top PSU crime report

Chad Lear – For the Centre Daily Times
Oct. 21, 2010

Alcohol offenses and thefts continue to be the biggest problems at Penn State, according to the university’s annual crime report.
“If you look at driving under the influence, liquor law and public drunkenness, those numbers are still high,” said Penn State Deputy Police Chief Tyrone Parham.
In 2009, those three offenses alone accounted for 783 of the 1,726 Part II offenses. Part II offenses also include drug offenses and weapons possession.
During the past three years, alcohol-related offenses have gone up, along with the blood alcohol content levels of Penn State students who have required medical attention for alcohol overdoses, Parham said.
“We’d like to see all of those numbers go down. Unfortunately, the trend is people seem to be drinking larger quantities and volumes of alcohol,” he said.
Theft is also a big concern for police on campus. In 2009, theft was responsible for 439 of the 526 Part I offenses, which also include forcible rape, assault and burglary.
One reason for the large number was that a lot of the stolen property was either unattended or not secured. “They’re kind of crimes of opportunity,” said Parham.
In general, the total number of Part I and Part II offenses — more serious and more violent crimes and lesser offenses, respectively — has remained consistent during the past three years. In 2007, 2008 and 2009 offenses totaled 2,055, 2,268 and 2,252, respectively.
The only notable increase in Part I offenses during the past three years was in aggravated assaults. In 2007 and 2008 combined, there were 13 aggravated assaults. That number jumped to 23 in 2009, with 12 involving dangerous weapons.
Still, the rise in aggravated assaults hasn’t been a big problem, Parham indicated. Many of the assaults involved people who knew each other and were not random acts of violence, he said.
The report was sent out Saturday by e-mail to students, faculty and staff at University Park.
Parham said Penn State and its surrounding community remain one of the safest places to live in the country.
“Generally speaking, it’s a good thing that we don’t have significant increases in serious assaults, robberies, homicides, forceful rapes and all those types of things,” he said.
Chad Lear is a Penn State journalism student.