Campus crime increases with a growing freshman class
By Abigail O’Brien
With an ever-growing freshman class, crime rates have seen an increase on Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) campus with the incoming 2012 freshman class being the largest NAU has ever seen.
Staff of residential halls, on-campus law enforcement and upperclassmen around campus have generally agreed in seeing a noticeable difference.
Jane Kuhn, associate vice president of enrollment management and student affairs, explained the Arizona Board of Regions (ABOR) has established an enrollment goal of 25,000 students by 2020. The freshman class this year, totaling 4,118 students, is an increase of 924 students from 2011.
The number of out-of-state students has had a large impact on this year’s increase as well.
“Because of our Western Undergraduate Exchange program it has increased our California students significantly,” Kuhn said.
With the growing numbers in classrooms and residence halls comes the increase in behavioral infractions from students.
Joe Tritschler, NAUPD officer of public relations, agreed this semester has kept the team busy.
“Reality is, we know kids are going to drink. It is about responsible behavior and consequences,” Tritschler said.
When asked if the freshmen are the most consistent offenders Tritschler responded, “I think that’s a fair statement. They are coming out on their own for the first time, living away from their normal home setting. They’re checking things out, doing things they would not normally do.”
Many freshman have agreed the enforcement of laws on and off-campus are more strict then they had assumed.
Alexis Nalbach, a freshman business major, has repeatedly said, “At home in California, the cops let a lot go. They are a lot more lenient.”
The amount of minors cited for underage drinking has intimidated several students.
“I know so many friends that have received a [Minor in Consumption] and it scares me to even go out,” said Kerry Lorenz, a freshman public relations major.
“After the very first weekend going out, I learned my lesson,” said Maddie Kane, a freshman. “You just have to be smart.”
According to Tritschler, students may not realize the magnitude of their actions during their college career.
“Having a criminal record for a MIC can affect future employment. They don’t think of that,” Tritschler said.
The official numbers of on-campus behavioral infractions from 2011-2012 have not yet been released. However, many upper classmen agree every year the stories become more and more scandalous.
“Don’t get me wrong, when I was a freshman we all did some crazy stuff, but from what I have heard about this freshman class, they are just being reckless,” said Marshall Gottlieb, a senior business major.
While some think it is this 2012 freshman class being impulsive, others argue that the police enforcement seems harsher.
“The past couple of years, I have known a lot of people that have gotten their fake IDs taken away or simply caught for underaged consumption, but this year the repercussions seem more severe and a lot more consistent,” said senior Donovan Hard.
Though the most frequent offense is alcohol infractions, the amount of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia citations are also big issues on campus. Uses of meth and other illegal substances in dorm rooms have also increased.
“Traditionally those numbers are low,” Tritschler said. ”So to have already had instances with that is very discouraging and dangerous.”
The freshman class size is only expected to increase in upcoming years with ABOR’s standards. NAUPD has designed presentations to educate students of the risks and harm of illegal substances.
When asked about the growing number of students, Tritschler responded, “There’s a lot more work to do. I have family that attends [NAU] so when someone says they need help, it is important to me to go out and help, to educate them.”