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Sex assaults, substance crimes down this year on university campus

Oct 6, 2013 - By Bob Moen, The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- The University of Wyoming is reporting a drop in the number of rapes for the second straight year, while campus police dealt with fewer alcohol and drug violations 2012.

UW reported five forcible sex offenses on campus and adjacent public property in 2012, compared to seven in 2011 and nine in 2010.

Arrests for liquor violations decreased from 205 in 2011 to 178 last year. Drug arrests fell from 96 in 2011 to 60 in 2012.

Aaron Appelhans, UW crime prevention officer, said the university has tried to better educate students and others about crime prevention and the consequences of committing offenses, particularly when it comes to rape and other "relationship violence."

"A lot of that education has really helped inform the public about, even though it's a safe community, that sexual assault does happen in our community and there's people that can help and things that we can do to prevent it from happening," Appelhans said.

The education starts at freshman orientation. UW also offers various programs in cooperation with the city of Laramie, Albany County and other organizations.

"It's really a team effort in trying to make sure that we do everything we can to support the victims that do report and that we prevent that crime from happening," Appelhans said.

Appelhans said UW has taken a "zero tolerance policy" to alcohol on campus and in residence halls.

"We feel that over the last couple of years the word has definitely gone out that if you're going to have alcohol, campus isn't one of those places where you can have it or you're at the risk of being charged with a crime," he said.

"We think the population here on campus is really understanding that stance and they're making better choices."

UW reported 23 burglaries in 2012, up from 13 in 2011, and one motor vehicle theft last year, the same as 2011. There were two weapons violations last year after none in 2011.

The university reported no murders, robberies, aggravated assaults or hate crimes in 2012.

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