Dating violence, liquor and drug abuse down in annual campus safety report

Tricia Knoles is the KSU Police Department community resource officer. 

Emma Andrus Reporter Madisyn Woodring Reporter

Editor’s Note: The following story has been updated to include information about the Clery Act, such as the fire occurrences, and additional information on other crimes. 

Reports of dating violence and liquor law and drug abuse-related arrests are on a decline, according to the 2020 Kent campus annual security report based on statistics from 2019. 

The Clery Act requires colleges that receive federal funding to disclose the number of fires and crimes that occur on campus and on nearby public property. These crimes can consist of sexual violence, robbery, assault, hate crimes as well as liquor law and drug abuse violations. 

According to the report, 11 accounts of dating violence were reported on campus property for 2019, which is less than the number of incidents reported the previous year with 16 incidents reported in 2018. 

The 2020 report on 2019 statistics came out in December instead of the fall. KSU Police Department Community Resource Officer Tricia Knoles said this is because the Department of Education extended the deadline due to COVID-19. 

“[The Department of Education] understood that a lot of people, especially in the university community, were working remotely [and] had difficulties with getting statistics,” Knoles said.

The number of liquor law violation arrests and drug abuse violation arrests on campus property saw the largest drop; these include violations such as driving while impaired and underage possession or consumption. 

Liquor law arrests decreased from 159 in 2018 to 103 in 2019 but remained the most committed crime, according to the 2020 report. Arrests due to drug abuse, the second most committed crime on-campus,  dropped roughly 52 percent since the previous report. 

Knoles said the drops can likely be attributed to things the university has done and an overall decline in partying. 

“We [at Kent State] do a lot of drug and alcohol programs and presentations,” Knoles said. “We’re getting the word out there … so I really attribute it to a lot of people having a conversation about drugs and alcohol awareness and party safety.”

Knoles said she feels the number of parties in general, including ones held on campus, have “been a lot lower than they used to,” which she attributes to neighborhood canvassing. 

Knoles said officers, Undergraduate Student Government representatives and representatives from the Office of Student Conduct have visited known party areas, typically around events such as Halloween or St. Patrick’s Day, which have drawn party-goers for several years. 

However, crimes such as forcible fondling and stalking have increased slightly from 2018 to 2019. Five more forcible fondling cases were reported in 2019 than in the previous year, as well as one more stalking incident.

No fires occurred in the resident halls in 2019.

Looking ahead to what the 2021 report could hold, Knoles said the expectation is a decrease in numbers across the board due to COVID-19 and fewer students being on or near campus. 

“I don’t think the numbers will ever be all zeros across the board. In a perfect world, they are, but there’s always room for improvement,” Knoles said. “There’s always new ideas and new ways to reach out to our students and bring those numbers down.”

Emma Andrus covers administration. Contact her at [email protected] 

Madisyn Woodring is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].