Dec 29, 2014 5:51 PM

Durham reports highest arrest rate since 2005

DURHAM - Durham is especially quiet this week since thousands of University of New Hampshire students are away on winter break. But it was not a quiet year for police. Between Durham and UNH Police, 1,158 arrests were made. It's their highest number since 2005.

UNH Police Chief Paul Dean says the number stays close to 1,000 every year and it's to be expected in a college town. Why the increase this year?

"Weather plays a huge role in whether or not arrests are made on weekends," Dean said.

Durham Police Chief Dave Kurz also sees this fall's mild weather as a possible factor.

"And that creates opportunities for people to maybe get themselves into more trouble than they would because we would see them as opposed to them being behind closed doors," Kurz said.

60 percent of Durham PD's arrests were UNH students. The majority of the arrests were not serious and involved alcohol.

Police see the biggest spike in arrests every year in September when the incoming freshman move to town. Chief Kurz says the number of resident complaints has actually gone down in recent years.

Erin Sharp has lived down the street from UNH fraternities for six years. She feels students are renting less in neighborhoods, something police are working with the town to ensure.

"I think that's really helped a lot. So a lot of the problems and noise is more concentrated downtown than in the neighborhood," Sharp said.

Over a decade ago, Durham Police started an alcohol enforcement initiative to crack down on drinking offenses. They say students witnessing arrests will help change their behavior for the better.

"While these numbers seem high, it's clear to us that absent us doing this, they'd be higher," Kurz said.


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