By Zach Geiger
Collegian Staff Writer
Since the start of the semester two weeks ago, State College Police said they have seen a noticeable increase in criminal activity in the borough, despite no major events.
But don’t expect them to be unprepared for the first home football game.
During the weekend of August 20 there were 14 minor law violations, eight DUIs, five incidents of public drunkenness and one non-DUI felony aggravated assault with five defendants, police said.
And last weekend — the first weekend since classes began — police report there was an even larger increase in this type of activity.
“The activity level was similar to a football weekend,” State College Police Department Lt. Chris Fishel said.
With dozens of individuals arrested last weekend and multiple DUI cases, Fishel said the numbers stand out because the weekend did not include a special event like a football game.
“The first weekend, unfortunately, was replete with alcohol-related incidents among our students,” Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims said.
Any student cited for underage possession or consumption of alcohol — on or off-campus — will have to appear before Penn State Judicial Affairs and face local legal proceedings, Sims said.
Additionally, students will be placed in the recently adopted Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) program at a cost of $200 to the student, and face any judicial sanctions like warnings or probation, he said.
“We want to do all we can in concert with students, student leaders, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and community members to encourage students and others toward healthy and safe relationships with alcohol,” Sims said.
Police said they typically see an increase in activity downtown in September and they don’t expect this year to be an exception.
But with Labor Day falling this weekend, there is a possibility that students will be out of town and visiting with family, Fishel said.
Still, there will be a strong police presence downtown to ensure everyone is safe, Sims wrote.
“This is a community issue and all the resources of the community are working in concert to address it,” Sims said.
By Zach Geiger