WVU Police saw a decrease in crime on gameday during the 2018 football season compared to the year prior.
The most common violations during football gamedays in the 2017 and 2018 seasons were Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABCC) violations, according to WVU Police statistics. This occurs when underage students or visitors are sold or given alcoholic beverages, whether in the stadium or at tailgates.
Last year, these incidents were reported and recorded 44 times, compared to this year’s number, which was 32.
“We really watched out for the last couple of years since the alcohol came into the stadium, to make sure we really get ahold of abuse and try to keep that down as low as possible,” said UPD Sgt. Peggy Runyon.
The next two biggest concerns of the 2017 and 2018 seasons were drug incidents and occurrences that required the help of EMS officials. While drug incidents decreased from 21 last season to 18 this season, EMS assistance rose from 17 last season to 29 this season.
Although EMS incidents increased, Runyon said this is due to an increase in safety.
“Any time someone has a seizure, or a nosebleed, or something like that, they call us and we have to make a record of that anywhere on campus,” Runyon said.
Battery, petit larceny and underage possession have all risen from 2017, but the numbers still remained low. Petit larceny is a category of calls that can include a wide variety of incidents, such as a car break-in, a lost or stolen item in the parking lot, or someone selling unofficial tickets or merchandise. Whatever the case may be, UPD said that every call must be logged.
In total, 178 calls were made during the 2017 football season. During the 2018 season, 186 calls were made.
While most numbers remained similar across the board, Runyon said that Big 12 games and rivalry games require a more watchful eye. UPD also receives assistance from surrounding police forces, including Morgantown, Star City and Westover forces.
But when it comes to patrolling the tailgate lots, it’s almost always just UPD.
If a violation is made by a student, they are required to report to the Office of Student Conduct at WVU to review student conduct violations. By going through WVU, UPD said that the violation won’t be placed with a student’s criminal record.
UPD also said that they prefer games with earlier start times, such as noon and 3:30 p.m. games. This earlier start makes the crowds filter into the stadium earlier, rather than tailgating for multiple hours before an evening game.
When it’s time to head home, UPD said Morgantown Police is usually directing traffic and making stops.
“The ABCC really pushes a program that they do with Sodexo. It’s called the designated driver program,” Runyon said. “The program offers those who recognize themselves as designated drivers free water and snacks for their journey home.”
“For the most part, we really do things behind the scenes to try to tamp [drunk driving] down and make it safe for everyone,” Runyon said.
Runyon said her favorite part about working on game days is meeting the respectful students of WVU and chatting with people driving home while directing traffic. She said she also loves working with the other officers, who have become her family.
She spoke highly of UPD Chief William “W.P.” Chedester, who began his tenure this semester after taking over for former Chief Bob Roberts. Runyon said Chedester helps gather the
“Chief Chedester is extremely proactive and takes the safety of everyone in the WVU community with high importance,” Runyon said.