Syllabus week crime incidents up from last year
Managing News Editor
The first week of the fall 2017 semester saw a rise in criminal incidents from the first week last year, with the majority of incidents involving substance abuse and possession.
The University of Delaware Police Department (UDPD) documented 43 criminal incidents between August 26 and August 3, with 29 of the incidents being related to substance abuse and possession, and the most typical incidents involving marijuana possession and underage alcohol consumption. UDPD has not yet released crime updates for the weekend.
The number of incidents marks an increase from last year, when UDPD documented 32 incidents, 24 of them being related to substance abuse or possession.
UDPD did not immediately respond to comment on the increase.
18 of the incidents took place in freshman residence halls, and the general increase in incidents could be attributed the 350-student increase in freshman enrollment this year—the largest freshman class in university history.
The increase also follows the recent Princeton Review ranking of the university as the nation’s sixth best “party school,” involving a ranking process that considers student survey feedback on Greek life and alcohol and drug use at the university.
According to junior Joseph Coyle, the increase in activity was evident throughout the week, as he heard more stories of parties being busted and underage drinking violations than in previous years.
Freshmen Sarah Spicer and Allie Mechlinski said that partying and substance abuse across campus did not come as a surprise, aligning with the university’s reputation and the experiences of older siblings at the university.
Spicer said that she knows several freshmen whose binge drinking resulted in vomiting on the first night at campus, and both Spicer and Mechlinski agreed that, while not much partying was visible in the residence halls, it had a presence across campus throughout the week.
“I have seen a lot of police driving around at night, as well as a lot of ambulances,” Mechlinski said.
Both students brushed the heightened activity off as syllabus week excitement, hopeful that things will calm down as the semester gets underway. They agreed that sustained syllabus week activity could be a distraction for many students.
The incident increase comes as “I’m Shmacked”—a group that visits campuses nationwide to incite massive riots and is known to target freshmen—prepares to come to the university this semester. The group’s last appearance on campus was in 2014, resulting in illegal activity and student arrests.