Penn State fourth in nation in alcohol arrests

May 27, 2004

University Park, Pa. -- Penn State, with more than 700 alcohol-related arrests in 2002, ranked fourth in the nation that year for the number of such arrests, according to an analysis in the May 28 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education, found at

The University of Wisconsin at Madison, Indiana University at Bloomington and Western Michigan University ranked one, two and three in the nation for alcohol-related arrests that year.

The Penn State figures were for just the University Park campus.

Alcohol arrests on college campuses increased for the 11th year in a row according to the Chronicle, which developed its rankings from data reported by 6,327 two-year and four-year colleges to the U.S. Education Department.

The Chronicle notes that large college campuses tend to have more arrests than do small ones merely because of their size. It also notes that campuses with few arrests may not be safer places; they simply may be campuses that do not give a high priority to dealing with alcohol issues.

"We believe taking drunk-drivers off the street, getting dangerously drunk students to the emergency room and other initiatives that stop alcohol abuse from getting out of hand help to eventually make the campus and local community a safer place," said Tom Harmon, Penn State's director of police services. "You should see higher arrest numbers from campuses and communities that care about this problem."

Tom King, State College Borough Police chief, said, "Penn State and our departments work together closely to address dangerous alcohol use and that is obvious when you see some of these national comparisons. Alcohol abuse is tied into many of the crime problems you find in this community and to the extent we address the alcohol problem we also have an impact on reducing other crimes such as sexual assaults, assaults and vandalism."

In 2002 there were thousands of arrests by Penn State campus and State College Borough Police for liquor-law violations, public drunkenness and drunk-driving. For more details about those arrests, go to

Another aspect to Penn State that makes it not unexpected to be high on such a ranking is that University Park has some of the largest numbers of students living on campus in the United States.

Penn State also ranked seventh nationally on the Chronicle's list for most drug arrests, with 135 such arrests at University Park in 2002.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009