Is Coastal Carolina University a safe learning environment for students who are leaving home for the first time and attending college while living in dorms or off-campus housing?
What kinds of arrests are made and what are the crime statistics for CCU?
The answer depends on who you ask, but we can provide you with some general information based on our own experience as attorneys who represent Coastal Carolina University students, media reports, and crime statistics that have been released by the University.
Below, we will discuss safety and crime statistics at CCU, including:
- The types of arrests that we commonly see with CCU students,
- Media reports on crime and safety on CCU’s campus, and
- CCU crime statistics as reported by the University.
Coastal Carolina University Arrests for Minor Offenses
When students get into trouble at Coastal Carolina University, Conway, Myrtle Beach, or other locations in Horry County, SC, the student or their parents often call us for help.
From experience, we can tell you that most alleged crimes that happen on or around campus, as with other university or college campuses, are relatively minor offenses that we can resolve through pretrial diversion programs, negotiations with the prosecutor and officers, or jury trials when necessary.
The most common offenses that we see include:
Minor in possession of alcohol
College students, often in their first experience away from home and without the constant supervision of their parents, often drink alcohol, whether it is on campus or off campus.
CCU has recognized that they have an alcohol problem on their campus and that CCU has gained a reputation as a “party school.”
In recent years, the University has responded with aggressive efforts to tackle this problem and make their campus safer for incoming students including increased disciplinary efforts (and, unfortunately, arrests of students by campus police and City of Conway police) and mandatory alcohol training for incoming students.
In 2017, for example, CCU had the highest number of liquor law violations out of all large four-year colleges in the country with a total of 1081 arrests for liquor law violations that year.
Many of these and similar cases, including liquor law violations, open container violations, and charges for minor in possession of alcohol, can be resolved and dismissed without a conviction through negotiations with the City of Conway, Horry County, or participation in pretrial diversion programs like PTI (pretrial intervention) or AEP (alcohol education program).
Driving under the influence
CCU students often find themselves charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) in Horry County’s city or magistrate courts.
These cases are a bit different because they are not usually eligible for pretrial diversion programs, but we have successfully handled many DUI or DUAC charges for our clients who are CCU students by:
- Investigating the charges and reviewing all evidence against the student,
- Finding grounds for dismissal of their charges due to statutory violations by the arresting officer,
- Negotiating dismissal of the DUI charges in exchange for a plea to a lesser traffic violation that does not affect the student’s driver’s license, or
- Trying their case to a jury.
Assault and battery charges
Although less common than alcohol violations, CCU students often find themselves charged with assault and battery in the city or magistrate court when they are involved in a fight on or off campus – sometimes when the student was clearly defending themselves.
These cases can often be resolved through:
- Investigation of the facts of the case and the potential witnesses,
- Dismissal of the charges when the facts do not match what was initially reported,
- Pretrial diversion programs like PTI,
- Plea negotiations, or
- Jury trial.
Drug use on the Coastal Carolina University Campus, as with most US colleges and universities, is a problem that campus police and local law enforcement take seriously.
CCU students often find themselves charged with drug offenses including simple possession of marijuana (yes, marijuana is very much illegal in SC despite its status in the rest of the country), cocaine or heroin offenses, and distribution charges.
Depending on the nature of the charges and the student’s prior criminal record, these cases may be resolved through:
- Investigation of the facts of the case and dismissal when the prosecutor does not have sufficient evidence to proceed,
- Pretrial diversion programs like PTI, Drug Court, or a conditional discharge for minor drug offenses,
- Plea negotiations, or
- Jury trial.
Coastal Carolina University Crime Statistics
What about real crime statistics? Is CCU safe for students who are leaving home for the first time?
There are reports of sexual violence on and around campus, robberies, thefts, and, in some years, there have also been murders on or around Coastal Carolina’s campus. In 2018, a study ranked CCU as the 15th most violent campus in the country among University campuses with over 10,000 students.
CCU disputed these results, however, pointing out that the FBI’s annual crime statistics can be misleading for several reasons. One reason the statistics are misleading is that CCU diligently reports crime and enforces the law on their campus, unlike many other universities (many of which report zero crimes each year).
If the University is correct, the irony is that CCU may be safer than some other colleges that do not report crime statistics at all, because CCU takes seriously law enforcement, reporting statistics, and the safety of their students.
In 2019 and 2020, crimes reported on Coastal Carolina University campus included:
|Liquor law violations – referrals||965||740|
|Drug law violations – referrals||113||54|
|Illegal weapons – referrals||5||2|
|Liquor law violations – arrests||53||12|
|Drug law violations – arrests||44||25|
|Illegal weapons – arrests||4||5|
|Motor vehicle theft||1||2|
|Non forcible sex offenses||0||0|
|Forcible sex offenses||10||14|
|Murder or non-negligent manslaughter||0||0|
Coastal Carolina University (CCU) Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you or your child was charged with possession of alcohol by a minor or any criminal offense in Conway or Myrtle Beach, SC, it is important that you talk to a Coastal Carolina University criminal defense lawyer quickly.
If you are convicted of an alcohol offense, it can result in a criminal record, jail time, fines, loss of financial aid for college students, and even expulsion from your college depending on the outcome of the college’s administrative hearing.
In most cases, we can avoid the negative consequences of an alcohol-related conviction by getting your case dismissed, by using a pretrial diversion program like the Alcohol Education Program (AEP), or by winning your case at trial.
Call Coastal Law, LLC now at (843) 488-5000 or fill out our online form to set up a free, confidential consultation.