Crimes related to alcohol, criminal mischief and driving accidents have increased from Aug. 29 to Sept. 25. The beginning of the school year brought more people to Fayetteville and could affect the crime rate, Fayetteville Police Department sergeant said. 

Public intoxication arrests increased in August, according to the FPD Weekly Summary Report from Sept. 19. FPD arrested 73 people in May and 94 people in August. 

Criminal mischief, which is any act that causes damage to property on purpose, and alcohol-related crimes like DUI and public intoxication have risen since the start of the school year, Murphy said.

Students drinking too much causes alcohol-related crimes to rise, Murphy said. 

Freshmen students are vulnerable to heavy drinking and alcohol-related consequences during their first six weeks of freshman year because of student expectations and social pressures at the start of the academic year, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

“Kids are leaving home for the first time, and they don’t know the ins and outs,” Fayetteville Police Department Sgt. Anthony Murphy said. “And some learn the hard way by leaving their stuff out and it gets stolen.”

There was no significant increase or decrease of DUI arrests from May-September, according to the weekly summary report. As of Sept. 19, FPD arrested 27 people on charges of DUI. 

Students have easy access to alcohol on campus, freshman Rylee Gibson said.

“It (alcohol) just encompasses the campus, all of the frat houses,” Gibson said. “There’s always something going on so it's pretty easy to get to.” 

An estimated 1,519 students aged 18-24 die alcohol-related deaths each year, according to a 2019 study of students aged 18-24 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).  

Around 696,000 students have reported that they were assaulted by another student who had been drinking from 1998-2014, according to the 2019 NIAAA study.

Campus police have made the process of reporting harassment as easy as possible, freshman Natalie Bell said.

“I had an issue where I had to report harassment, not from someone on campus, but I had to go to the police station and they were really easy to work with and really supportive of me,” Bell said. “So knowing that there's people like that on campus is really comforting.”

In June, FPD received eight reports of rape, which is almost double the amount of reports in May, July and August, according to the weekly summary report. Reported rapes decreased 29.2% from 2018-2019.

FPD saw an increase of aggravated assault reports in August compared to May, according to the weekly summary log. Police received 17 reports of aggravated assault in May and 33 reports in August.

Vandalism, an act of criminal mischief, increased in August as well, according to the weekly summary log.

“Historically that’s what happens when students come into town,” Murphy said. “There’s probably more criminal mischief because people are in town.”

Police received 79 reports of vandalism in July and 103 reports in August, according to the weekly summary report. In 2018, there were 33.3% less reports of stolen property than in 2019.

When school begins in August, there are more accidents and distracted driving, Murphy said. Young and inexperienced drivers contribute to accidents including rear-ended accidents.

Reports of traffic accidents, including fatal, injury and property accidents, increased in August, according to the weekly summary report. FPD received 254 reports of traffic accidents in July and 297 reports in August.

The number of arrests increased from May to August, according to the weekly summary report. UA police arrested 328 people in May and 351 people in August.

Abby Zimmardi is a staff reporter for the Arkansas Traveler, where she has been a staff reporter since April 2019.

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