By Alexandria Zamecnik
Oct. 14, 2015
When Chief of the UW-Whitewater Police Services Department Matthew Kiederlen looked at the numbers for 2014, he didn’t see anything that surprised or shocked him.
There has been a steady decrease in arrests for liquor (19.8 percent) and drug (14.3 percent) law violations from the 2013 to 2014 year at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, according to the Annual Security Report & Policy Statement.
“The possibility of having zero or no crime is pretty slim,” Kiederlen said. “I think with the numbers we’re seeing, I’m fairly comfortable. I don’t feel like we’re excessive or crazy in any areas. I think we’ve seen some nice downward trends.”
Sexual Assault Stats
In fact, one of Kiederlen’s concerns is the underreporting in cases of sexually based offenses.
From 2013 to 2014, forcible sex offenses or rape on campus went from 14 to 11, while non-forcible sex offenses or fondling, went from zero to four.
On average, an estimated 211,200 rapes and sexual assaults were unreported each year from 2006 to 2010 in the United States, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
“It’s one of the most underreported areas of criminality that exist, if not thee, but it’s definitely one of,” Kiederlen said. “We’ve been putting a lot of effort forth in trying to get people to come forward and let us know these things happened.”
Two of the reasons Kiederlen said two reasons to report sexual assaults are because of crime recidivism and it’s the right thing to do.
“Recent studies have found that 80 percent of these offenders are repeat offenders,” Kiederlen said. “This is not the first time that they have committed a sexually based crime.”
UW-Whitewater launched a campaign, “It’s On Us” as a cultural movement aimed at fundamentally shifting the way people think about sexual assault. The campaign is in its second year, with the campaign’s awareness day being held last month on Sept. 17.
“It’s just trying to let people know that we recognize these things happen and we’re here to help,” Kiederlen said. “People feel everything from self-blame to just pure embarrassment … We want people to know we recognize that and realize it and we still want you to tell us.”
Compared to other schools
UW-W has seen a slight increase in the number of disciplinary actions and judicial referrals for drug law violations, rising from 98 to 113, while liquor law violation referrals have stayed in the 700s.
Kiederlen said numbers from the report are cyclic and vary on what type of group of students are coming through.
Other schools in the UW System posted violation and referral numbers in similar ranges of UW-W’s own tallied offenses.
UW-Stevens Point had 142 drug violation referrals and 288 disciplinary alcohol referrals, in 2014. UW-Oshkosh had 146 drug law violations and 825 liquor law violations, in 2014.
Kiederlen said the difference from school to school is a hard thing to compare.
“On one hand, I could say that we have a pretty good combined enforcement effort between police, Residence Life and even our staff-faculty that will report those instances,” he said. “I think we are pretty proactive.”
Although drug law violation referrals have increased slightly, Kiederlen said the police department’s main purpose is to curb the distribution aspect of drugs on campus.
University police have been utilizing various means from undercover work to confidential informants. From four years ago, drug arrests and referrals are down by nearly 40 percent.
“There’s a big difference in everyone’s eyes of the young person who has 50 or 60 roofies or ecstasy pills that they’re distributing and the young person who’s got a joint or a bowl full of marijuana for personal use,” Kiederlen said.
In an article from the Royal Purple on April 1, 2015, President of Whitewater Student Government Allison Hetz campaigned on safety.
Hetz was reached out to for comment, but had not responded to media inquiries at press time.