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Crime mostly down at ETSU

Rex Barber • Apr 4, 2012 at 11:07 PM

Crime on Tennessee college campuses increased in 2011, but mostly decreased at East Tennessee State University, according to the annual Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Crime on Campus report.

“We’re down here at ETSU in most categories,” said Jack Cotrel, ETSU public safety chief. “There’s a couple we’re up a little bit in.”

The three crime categories of larceny/theft, drugs/narcotics violations and sex offenses all had increases at ETSU.

According to the report, larceny/thefts increased from 2010 to 2011 from 121 offenses to 129; drug/narcotics offenses increased from 42 offenses to 46; and there was one sex offense reported in 2010 and two reported in 2011.

The school saw decreases in assaults, fraud, DUIs, burglaries and liquor law violations.

Assaults numbered 39 in 2010 and 32 in 2011; there were 68 liquor law violations in 2010 and 43 such offenses in 2011; DUIs were cut nearly in half from 2010 to 2011, with 40 offenses and 22 offenses reported in those respective years; there were no robberies reported in 2011 but there were three reported in 2010.

“But I’m very pleased with our crime statistics overall,” Cotrel said. “And statistically they don’t change a whole lot from year to year.”

According to the TBI, there were 7,493 offenses reported in 2011 across all Tennessee college and university campuses compared with 7,190 in 2010, a 4.2 percent increase overall. Violent crime was also up nearly 20 percent for the second year in a row, the TBI said.

Cotrel said the crime categories will change from year to year. For instance, he said for the first three months of 2012, his officers worked 12 or 13 DUIs, which could mean an increase in drunken driving offenses for 2012.

Cotrel said officer presence on campus is the biggest challenge to law enforcement at a university. Cotrel said there is a direct correlation between a vigorous traffic enforcement program and a lower crime rate.

“In my opinion that’s the biggest single factor,” he said. “Developing community relations is another big factor.”

The ETSU campus population is expected to increase to around 16,000 students this fall. The TBI reported ETSU’s population, including employees, for 2011 was 16,607.

Cotrel said the number of officers on campus has not increased with the student population, but public safety is utilizing private security personnel to walk through buildings and perform other functions that do not require a sworn officer.

“That’s just like putting another officer on the street,” Cotrel said.

Milligan College was included in the report. This institution reported eight larceny/theft offenses in 2011, up from six in 2010. Milligan also reported one vandalism in 2010 and five vandalisms in 2011. There were two drug/narcotics offenses in 2010 at Milligan but none in 2011. There were no other crimes reported at Milligan.

In 2011, Northeast State Community College reported four assaults, 10 larceny/thefts, one fraud offense, two vandalisms and one drug/narcotic offense. In 2010, NSCC reported two assaults, 17 larceny/thefts, one vandalism and one drug/narcotics violation.

To view a full copy of the “Crime on Campus 2011” report, including statistics from each individual institution, go to www.tbi.tn.gov and click on “Statistical Analysis Center” from the “Tennessee Crime Statistics” button on TBI’s homepage.

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