Alcohol incidents more than double on campus

Arrests and Referrals on Campus (graph by Fourth Estate Online Editor Frank Muraca)
Arrests and Referrals on Campus (graph by Fourth Estate Online Editor Frank Muraca)

The 2013 Annual Security Report, released in September, shows a drastic increase in alcohol related arrests and referrals on Mason’s Fairfax campus between 2011 and 2012. While the number of alcohol related arrests decreased from 111 arrests in 2010 to 99 in 2011, the number rose sharply to 247 in 2012, representing a 62 percent increase.

“There are a lot of different factors,” Police Chief Eric Heath said. “During the course of 2012, there were two new residencies, and that brings a lot of new students and of course some new problems. You put more support networks in place. That helps to explain some of it.”

While the student undergraduate population increased from 20,090 students in 2010 to 20,738 students in 2011, the number of students decreased to 20,251 in 2012.

Heath also referenced new Virginia ABC grants, which allowed for targeted missions, as one of the reasons for the increase in arrests and referrals. In targeted missions, police patrols focus on finding alcohol violations on campus.

 “Targeted missions allow us to focus on one particular thing,” Heath said. “At the Patriot Center, for example, we had targeted missions in the parking lot. Arrests on campus don’t necessarily mean students.”

The grants Heath referenced were the 2012-2013 Operation Undergrad Grants. Mason and five other Virginia universities each received $9,000 in grants to support alcohol education and enforcement initiatives. At Virginia Tech, one of the other universities to receive grant funding, Liquor Law arrests fell from 289 to 165 from 2011 to 2012. The Operation Undergrad Grant funding became unavailable for the 2013-2014 school year.

“Operation Undergrad Grants was administered by ABC, but the funds were supplied through the Federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention,” ABC Education Coordinator Jennifer Farinholt said. “The federal money was no longer available, and that is why we did not continue Operation Undergrad. We are working on potential programs for the future, and we will certainly announce those and be in touch with all of the organizations that we have been able to provide funds to in the past. But right now, we don’t have those.”

In 2013, 133 of the 247 Liquor Law arrests were made on public property. Only 96 of the 2012 Liquor Law arrests were in student residencies, though this still reflected a drastic increase over the 21 arrests in 2011.

The number of drug arrests similarly increased from 111 arrests in 2010 to 247 in 2012. Drug arrests on public property rose from 34 in 2010 to 123 in 2012. However, drug referrals fell from 65 to 42.


George Mason University 2013 Annual Security Report by gmufourthestate

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