A Look at Crime Data at FGCU

Sam Romero, Staff Writer

The monthly crime log by Florida Gulf University’s police department shows an increase in crimes during the back-to-school season. Broken down by category, drug investigation and criminal mischief cases increased substantially from the months prior.

There were eight drug possession cases followed by four criminal mischief cases, four theft cases, two sexual violence cases, three battery and harassment cases, and one graffiti case logged for the month of September. This racked up a total of 22 criminal incidents.

UPD releases monthly crime logs with each month’s crime information that occurred within FGCU’s locations, including off-campus locations like residence housing like West Lake Village and Buckingham maintenance buildings.

The police department has reported a total of 84 criminal incidents in 2021 so far.

This September was the fifth highest month for crime cases reported by UPD since 2018. April 2018 saw a 33-case jump, ranking as the month with the highest crime cases reported. The earliest year reported in the crime log is 2018.

FGCU saw an increase in sexual violence, criminal mischief, drug, and theft cases in September. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Staff Psychologist Katherine Cascio said reports with criminal incidents like sexual violence can be tricky because only a small percentage of those cases are actually reported to university officials.

“Only 25% of sexual violence cases on campus will ever be reported,” Cascio said. She says the back-to-school season is when more students let their guard down, which is why the September-October time frame is known as the “red zone.”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there has been a general decline in crime rates on college campuses over the past two decades. Criminal incidents decreased by 2% from 2017 to 2018 at colleges and universities. 2017 saw 29,100 criminal incidents, but in 2018, that number fell to 28,500.

FGCU is following a decreasing trend in yearly criminal incidents. 2018 saw a total of 203 criminal incidents, followed by 144 cases in 2019, and 79 cases in 2020.

The pandemic took a toll on the amount of people on campus during 2018, however. FGCU cut in-person classes by half in 2020 in light of the pandemic, and less students were on campus.