Game day crime rates rise in 2016 season

Posted on Sep 30 2016 - 8:01am by Morgan Walker

In the 2015 Ole Miss football season, the University Police Department filed a combined total of 409 crime reports solely on game days. Of these reports filed, the vast majority consisted of either alcohol-related calls or ambulance transports. In the 2015 season alone, ambulances were called 73 times.

There are approximately 90 police officers allotted for every home football game. Twenty are directly from UPD, while 70 of those officers are contracted out from other departments through temporary employment.

UPD Chief of Police Tim Potts said heat and alcohol are the two largest factors his officers face on game days because both have the potential to result in ambulance calls.

Three games into the 2016 football season, there has been a total of 187 crime reports filed. Of those reports, 58 resulted in ambulance transports and 23 of those occurred during the Alabama game.

“The biggest challenge for us this year, I would say, has been the heat emergencies that we have had,” Potts said.

According to Potts, the number of reported ambulance calls relating to heat issues is typically smaller than the actual number of individuals taken to the hospital due to the limited number of ambulances available.

“The number of transports really doesn’t tell the total story because we only have two to three ambulances available,” Potts said. “If they’re already making a transport and if they’re busy, we’ve had people that have said ‘I’m going to get them to the hospital myself so they don’t have to wait’ and we understand that. It has been an issue this year.”

Potts said the number of ambulance calls is closely correlated with extreme heat conditions, especially this season.

“The heat-related stuff that we deal with at the stadium is going to be very high this time of year, but it’s almost safe to say that if it’s not heat-related, there’s a good probability that it is something alcohol related,” Potts said. “When you combine the two, alcohol makes you dehydrated and then you get out in the sun and you just can’t tolerate the heat. It’s not a very good couple.”

According to UPD crime reports, alcohol played a consistent role in incidents for every single game in the 2015 season, with alcohol-related calls equaling 144. Alcohol-related calls can include the following: intoxicated persons, public drunkenness, underage possession of alcohol and the possession of a fake ID.

This season alone has resulted in 69 alcohol related incidents solely on game days.

“If you start from Friday evening to Sunday evening, the majority of the cases that the officers are involved in are going to be alcohol-related,” Potts said. “I would say it’s a fair representation that alcohol is one of the biggest issues we face and then the behaviors that are associated with someone who might have consumed too much alcohol also present issues as well.”