Crime rates have fallen across all of Arizona State University’s campuses, according to the ASU Police Department’s 2013 campus statistics report.
While a notable spike in larceny and liquor violations could be seen on the Downtown Phoenix campus, Sgt. Daniel Macias of the ASU Police Department said the increase in these specific crimes could be a reflection of the growing number of students at ASU, which in 2013, soared to over 76,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
“Across the boards, the majority of our Part 1 crimes have gone down over the past several years,” said Sgt. Macias. “The only crime that has gone up everywhere is sexual assault.”
Macias said that in 2013, about 13 sex crimes were reported in Tempe, a number that ASU hopes to lower.
“We’ve had a big push about getting the word out on reporting sexual assault,” Sgt. Macias said. “In April, it was sexual assault awareness month, and we partnered with a lot of downtown bars and restaurants, we worked with ASU, the sororities and fraternities. We did a big push on trying to get the word out on how to report these types of crimes, so we believe that is part of the reason why the numbers have gone up.”
However, the risk of sexual assault seems far away on the Downtown Phoenix campus, according to freshman Criminal Justice and Criminology major, Mikayla Petersen, who said that she feels safe living in the Taylor Place residence hall.
“I like living in the dorms because we do have great security precautions,” Petersen said. “I like that you need your ID to get into the building, to get to the elevators, and then to actually use the elevators. But like, students feel they can get away with more because they’ve learned how to be sneaky.”
A concern Petersen has involves the lack of security cameras in the east and west stairwells of Taylor Place, which students are encouraged to use so as to not monopolize the elevators.
“I’ve heard that cameras are only on the bottom floors which ‘makes it hard’ for people to sneak others into the building,” Petersen said. “But seriously, they still can bring people in, and if there are no cameras on the rest of the floors [stairwells], who knows where they go?”
Petersen’s concerns are appropriately voiced as the downtown Phoenix area becomes more populated while transforming into ‘Super Bowl Central,’ an area spanning 12 city blocks to be used for entertainment aspects of the 2015 game-day.
“We keep hearing about how there’s a lot of sex trafficking during the Super Bowl,” Petersen said. “My dad’s a retired police officer, and he keeps telling me to pay attention when I’m walking around.”
Sgt. Macias said a lot of preparation has been happening over the past few months for the Super Bowl events.
“There are going to be many large events with lots of people,” Sgt. Macias said. “We’re working to make sure we keep the students of ASU and the public safe.”