Despite violent flash mobs and curfew arrests in the city this summer, new students arrived to lower crime rates compared to last year’s freshmen.
The overall crime rate during New Student Orientation dropped 16 percent this year, according to the Division of Public Safety. In addition to crime, alcohol-related police reports fell about 32 percent and alcohol-related hospitalizations decreased about 32 percent.
Of the 16-percent overall drop, crimes against people decreased by 20 percent and crimes against property decreased 14 percent. No major crimes were reported and no Penn students were arrested.
“We had a few close-call emergencies, but there were no serious injuries or deaths to students,” Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said. “Overall, it was a very safe and enjoyable move-in.”
The decrease in violations and hospital visits can be attributed to increased student awareness, as well as the cooperation of campus organizations, according to Julie Nettleton, Director of Alcohol & Other Drug Program Initiatives.
“Our students were proactive in seeking help for their friends who needed help, which is exactly what we want to see happen,” Nettleton wrote in an email. “In addition, I think that we are gaining a number of great student partners both on and off campus to help reduce harm and increase the use of protective factors if students choose to drink.”
Changes were made to the Penn Life Sketches program and PennAM module to help address the 37-percent increase in alcohol-related incidents during last year’s NSO. There was also an increased presence of alcohol monitors, and Vice Provost of University Life staff and Penn Police made visits to off-campus residences advertising “large, high-risk events” to discuss safety issues and liability, according to Nettleton.
“NSO is a high-risk time at Penn and on campuses across the country,” she said. “Penn takes a number of proactive steps throughout the year, but particularly during NSO, to reduce harm and promote a safe environment.”
There was also an increase in NSO-sponsored events this year that gave students safe, alternative late-night options. These events received “terrific attendance,” according to NSO Director David Fox.
“I think the area where NSO has really adapted to this challenge is in the increase in late-night [events] and more preceptorials,” Fox wrote in an email. “These partnerships with the [Undergraduate Assembly] and [Student Committee on Undergraduate Education] were specifically created to ensure that there are always opportunities in NSO — day and night — for safe ways to have fun.”
However, while overall crime and alcohol-related incidents decreased, “a lot of high risk activity has moved off campus,” Nettleton explained. While just five on-campus, unregistered parties were shut down by alcohol monitors, public safety officers shut down 11 parties off-campus.
Penn Police has increased efforts to lower the frequency of large, high-risk off-campus parties in the last couple of years and will continue to do so throughout the school year, according to Rush.
“We’re not going to have the neighborhood disturbed by people who are so drunk that they are a danger to themselves,” she said.Comments powered by Disqus
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