UMPD releases annual security report

In 2012, there were 306 discipline cases for liquor law violations and 119 drug violations at the Coral Gables campus, meaning there are 17 times more liquor violations than burglaries.

These numbers paint a picture of the Annual Security Report, which was released by the University of Miami Police Department (UMPD) to the university and is available to the public every year.

A liquor law violation occurs when anyone below 21 is drinking alcohol or is suspected to have been drinking, despite not being caught possessing alcohol. In 2011, the Coral Gables campus had 196 violations.

In comparison, the report noted that in 2012 there were three forcible sex offenses, one robbery, zero aggravated assaults, two motor vehicle thefts and 18 burglaries.

According to David Rivero, chief of police of the UMPD, in the six years he has been at UM, the numbers in the drug and liquor law violations categories have fluctuated every year.

“I think it has to do with the class of folks that we get that come in,” he said. “I’ve been here where we’ve had a freshman class that has been incredibly adventurous, to say the least and then we’ve had some classes that have come in that have given us no problems, so it just is based on the class of individuals and the luck of the draw.”

The university promotes its educational programs like Alcohol Edu by tabling, handing out pamphlets, sending emails and using social media. Alcohol Edu is an online alcohol prevention program that first-year students are required to complete during their first semester.

“It’s good in the purpose behind it and the mission of it I agree with,” freshman Alexis McDonald said. “I’m just a student, and I’d rather not spend my summer doing that. But I get the purpose. I respect it. I’m just biased because it’s over the summer, and you don’t want to dedicate your time to doing it, but it was very informative.”

The number of liquor law violations went down the same year when Alcohol Edu was implemented in 2011. Pier21, the Prevention, Intervention, Education and Referral organization that works with the program, was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

The drug violations also reported significantly higher numbers with 37 arrests and 82 discipline cases in 2012, 77 arrests and 147 disciplines cases in 2011.

Residential assistants (RA) are not allowed to handle any situations involving drugs, but instead call the area director on duty or UMPD, according to a residential assistant working in Stanford Residential College who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

If there is a problem with a student returning to the residential college visibly drunk, then general security will call the RA on duty if the student cannot get into the building.  The RA will then analyze the situation and determine who to contact because generally if security calls, the student is in need of medical attention, the Stanford RA said.

And, if an RA or another student reports an incident to the police, then the police will arrive and assess the student based on a color system. Green means the student is a little drunk but still capable of normal functions. Orange means the student is borderline, and UMPD will then call the fire rescue to determine if the student can return to their dorm or should be taken to the hospital. Red would go straight to the hospital to avoid the chance of someone dying of alcohol poison.

After each incident, UMPD is required to refer the student to the Dean of Students office for further disciplinary action.

Considering the nearest geographical university, Florida International University had three alcohol-related arrests and 188 referrals, 85 drug arrests and 49 referral in 2012.

“We have more students living on campus than they do, and maybe we enforce it better than they do, that could also be a factor,” Rivero said. “You either go to jail, or you enter a program at the university.”

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Ashley Martinez
Ashley Martinez is a senior majoring in journalism and psychology, which have sharpened her people-watching skills. She has worked as a staff writer, copy editor, assistant editor and is now the Edge arts and entertainment editor at The Miami Hurricane. She serves as the president of UM's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Her work has been featured in The Hurricane, Distraction Magazine, The Communique, Gables Home Page and The Miami Herald. When she's not working on a story, she loves going to the theatre and singing show tunes.