A no-tolerance policy implemented by the CMU Police Department in 2010 has resulted in a growing number of alcohol arrests and violations over the past few years.
Other violations have also increased since 2010, but on a smaller scale.
CMUPD Lt. Cameron Wassman said CMUPD and other law enforcement agencies in the area decided to increase efforts in 2010 to curb illegal behavior including underage drinking. The police department has no plans to change that policy in the near future.
“Our philosophy has kind of changed,” Wassman said. “It makes sense. If we allow for things to get out of hand, things will continue to get out of hand, and it will create a lot more problems for us.”
Michigan Incident Crime Reporting documents from the past five years, which document all arrests made by CMUPD, reveal alcohol violations have had a sizable upswing within the past three years.
CMUPD only began reporting the majority of its alcohol-related incidents to the state in 2010. Because of this, total arrest statistics regarding alcohol violations during 2008 and 2009 are unavailable.
According to Michigan Incident Crime Reporting data, CMUPD reported 121 liquor violations to the state in 2010, with 81 total minors in possession reported.
In 2011, CMU Police that figure nearly doubled to 216 violations, with 151 MIP’s.
In 2012, however, only 123 liquor violations were reported, with 95 MIP’s.
Wassman said underage students are taking a greater risk by opening a beer in the wake of the no-tolerance policy.
“(Take) Welcome Weekend, for example. Law enforcement now looks at that with a no-tolerance policy,” Wassman said. “If you step out of line, if you break the law, you’re going to get a citation.”
Grand Rapids sophomore Nicholas McCallum faces up to $1,000 in charges including court fees following an MIP he received earlier this year.
According to McCallum, CMUPD asked him during a tailgate if he had beers in his backpack. He said he cooperated and was not drinking at the time.
“I’m stone broke,” McCallum said. “This has wiped out my entire savings account.”
Defense attorney Todd Levitt said he has seen a noticeable increase in the number of students charged with alcohol violations.
“This year and last year, it’s really increased.” Levitt said. “I have definitely seen a substantial increase in MIPs.”
Total reported arrests have also been on the rise on the whole since 2010.
In 2009, CMUPD reported 132 arrests, but that number more than doubled to 285 in 2010. In 2011, total arrests hit their five-year peak at 462, but in 2012, the number of arrests dropped to 333.
Wassman said he can not account for the high number of arrests in 2011.
“This is still a very safe campus,” Wassman said. “People might not be concerned about their safety.”