CHEYENNE — The University of Wyoming Police Department is creating a full-time crime prevention officer to concentrate on making the campus safer, UW Police Chief Mike Samp said.
"As a campus officer, it's a portion of our duties anyway, but this position will essentially be devoted full-time to crime prevention and basically free up the other staff to focus their efforts on being more proactive in enforcement around campus," Samp said.
The new officer will be involved in all areas of crime prevention, including how building design and landscaping can be improved to promote a safer environment, he said.
UW has 14 sworn police officers. One of the 14 will take over the crime prevention duties this semester.
In 2011, UW reported a drop in rapes and burglaries but an increase in drug violations.
Reported rapes fell from nine in 2010 to four in 2011, while burglaries dropped in 2011 to 13 from 51 reported the previous year, according to statistics compiled by the university.
Samp attributes the drop in rapes to education efforts, such as advising students how to avoid situations that could lead to trouble.
"We're trying to educate the men on campus on what is appropriate behavior and what is not," he said.
In addition, UW police officers present crime prevention programs at new student orientation and new employee training sessions. The department also performs security audits for employees, students and other organizations on campus.
"There's also been tons of improvements on campus over the last several years on lighting and on emergency phones and other efforts on the main campus as well as in Laramie as a whole," Samp said.
Drug arrests on campus and in the immediate vicinity of the campus increased from 48 in 2010 to 96 in 2011, while alcohol violations dropped slightly from 206 to 205.
Samp said most drug violations involved marijuana.
UW reported no murders, negligent manslaughter, robberies, aggravated assaults or weapons violations in 2011.