Study profiles campus crime

January 11, 1991|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,Evening Sun Staff

Warning: Fraternity parties and college athletes can be hazardous to your health.

That is one conclusion of a team of Towson State University researchers that just completed a national student crime survey of 60,000 college students.

The results, released yesterday at a seminar during the National Conference on Campus Violence sponsored by the TSU Campus Violence Prevention Center, concluded that drug and alcohol abuse is so commonly linked to crime on or near college campuses that victimization becomes a "significant risk factor" when students get drunk or high.

The survey results were drawn from 12,651 responses to a four-page questionnaire, a 24 percent response rate, said Charles E. Maloy, the TSU associate vice president for student services and director of the campus counseling center.

"We seem to be a point in time where we know enough about the topic to take some situations and have an impact on reducing some crimes," Maloy said.

The survey will be used as a point of reference for crime prevention strategies on campuses and to aid in formulating federal policy initiatives to deal with campus violence, Maloy said.

Some of the findings of the survey:

* More than 37 percent of the students responding had been victims of campus-related crime and nine percent of the respondents had been perpetrators of campus-related crime

* College athletes had committed 31.8 percent of rapes on campuses and 5.1 percent of nonsexual crimes

* Alcohol and marijuana are the most common substances used on campuses. Students who had reported committing a campus crime also reported more frequent drug and alcohol use

* Students who had both committed multiple crimes and had been the victim of a crime were the most frequent drug and alcohol users while students who committed sexual crimes tended to be frequent drug users

* "Date rape" victims were almost three times as likely to have used alcohol around the time of the incident as were other types of victims and were more likely to have been involved in "some sort of partying activity."

* Victims of sexually related crimes were more likely to live in a dormitory.

"Student crime is often predictable and quite possibly preventable," Maloy said. "This survey makes it possible to construct reliable profiles of crimes."

Of college athletes and the high percentage of reported crimes, Maloy said his theory is, "athletes tend to be involved in more crimes and we are having it more formally confirmed. They have a need to dominate and a built up aggression."

The survey was prepared by R. Barker Bausell and Carole R. Bausell, TSU researchers who are married.

The data will be used in construction of profiles of students and their likelihood for being a victim of campus-related crime or a perpetrator, mainly by knowledge of a student's drug or alcohol intake habits, grade point average, gender and sorority or fraternity association, Maloy said.

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