CEDAR FALLS — The University of Northern Iowa had a decrease in the number of criminal offenses in 2015 but a small uptick in arrests for those incidents compared to its 2014 figures, according to an annual campus and safety report submitted to the Iowa Board of Regents.
UNI reported 753 incidents or offenses on campus in 2015. Those resulted in 209 charges and 154 people arrested.
The figures are dwarfed by those reported at the other, larger public universities Iowa and Iowa State. The number of offenses at University of Iowa was 2,303 in 2015, with 462 people arrested. At Iowa State University, 1,879 offenses and 792 people arrested.
While the trends at UNI since 2007 show a recent increase in incidents, the number of people arrested has been fairly stable during that time.
UNI Police Chief Helen Haire said the changes in offenses cannot be attributed to any one thing, with one exception of the 204 incidents of wire fraud in 2014.
“It’s really difficult for us sometimes to talk about the whys. Why did this decrease? Or, why did this increase? Because there may not be any one particular thing that we can pull out and say, ‘It’s because of this,’” Haire said. “I think we’re holding pretty steady.”
Violent crimes were nearly nonexistent on campus in 2014 and 2015. There were no reported cases of manslaughter or homicide or kidnapping. There was one case of rape in 2015 and two cases in 2014.
One area where UNI had an increase in incidents is 90 cases of theft and 15 cases of burglary, which represented 19 more cases of theft and nine more cases of burglary than in 2014.
Haire, who also is the university’s director of public safety, didn’t have an exact reason for those increases, but she suspects it has to do with the increase in devices students carry today, from cell phones to tablets to computers.
Haire said the 2014 wire fraud offenses, which were from a data breach that led to identity theft and a tax return scam, also could represent a possible future trend.
While UNI had 204 offenses in 2014, it had none in 2015.
“I think that’ll be a constant issue that we’re going to have from now on,” Haire said.
There were slight increases in arrests for drunkenness and drunk driving, as well as an increase in arrests for drug violations and drug equipment violations.
Haire said the increase is likely due to the educational efforts on campus, where students learn if they see drug violations occurring, they should contact the police.
“I kind of look at it as it’s good and it’s bad. It’s good that we’re getting people to understand and to call us. It’s bad that people are actually doing it and continue to do it,” Haire said, adding most of the drug and drug equipment violations relate to marijuana use.
Staffing levels among UNI law enforcement remains steady. In 2015, there were 18 sworn state-certified officers and five state-certified dispatchers.
The Iowa Board of Regents and its academic and student affairs committee will accept the annual report on campus safety and security from across its institutions during their respective meetings this week Wednesday and Thursday at the Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs.