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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Campus

Annual UH crime report lists sharp increase in alcohol offenses


John Lomax/The Cougar

Drinking-related violations on UH Main Campus have risen dramatically in recent years, according to the 2022 UH Annual Crime Report.

The report, which details crimes ranging from sexual misconduct to misdemeanor theft, listed 35 alcohol violations for 2021, a sharp surge from 2020, in which no offenses were reported. This marks a five-year high for the University, as only one violation was reported in 2019, 15 in 2018 and six in 2017. 

Director of UH Wellness Rubin Parrish said the increase is likely the product of an assortment of factors. 

“There’s going to be several things leading to this,” Parrish said. “Part of it is likely related to stress stemming from COVID-19, and part of it could also just be students who are excited to be back on campus.” 

Stress stemming from external events, combined with a nationwide increase in mood disorders and suicide, has put students at more risk of substance abuse, according to a study from the National Library of Medicine. 

Parrish said these issues are likely another part of the problem.

“I know you may have heard about the increase in mental and emotional health issues after the pandemic,” Parrish said. “So there could be a slight correlation stemming from students experiencing depression or excessive stress and turning to substance abuse.” 

Despite this, other Universities experienced a decline in the number of alcohol offenses reported, bringing their numbers to roughly the same level as UH. 

Texas Tech reported 38 alcohol violations in 2021, a 32 percent decline from 2020 and almost half the amount reported in 2019. 

Texas State University experienced the sharpest decline, falling from a high of 91 offenses in 2019 to only 27 in 2021. 

John Lomax/The Cougar

Inversely, drug-related offenses at UH have seen a steady decline over the past several years. Starting from a high of just over 70 violations in 2017, the amount reported has decreased steadily, culminating in a five-year low of only 10 in 2021. 

Stalking reports also decreased from a high of 90 reports in 2018 to only 29 in 2021. Other crimes, like dating violence and domestic violence, remained essentially unchanged from 2020 to 2021, with a slight uptick in dating violence from eight to 12 reports in 2021. 

On the other hand, rape reports rose to pre-pandemic levels, from five in 2020 to 12 in 2021, though this is still well below the 5-year high of 21 in 2019. Fondling also increased slightly from three to five cases in 2021. 

Overall, crime on UH campus is still below pre-pandemic levels, though from 2020 to 2021 there was a 16 percent increase in the total number of reports filed.

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