College Student Citations and Arrests in Iowa City


Because of the life-long negative impact that a criminal offense can have on a person, the number of college students who are arrested or who receive citations annually is a concern of local residents. Students come to Iowa City for an education that will give them a life-long advantage, not a criminal record that will put them at a disadvantage for life. We need to do whatever we can to ensure the best positive outcome of every person’s experience who comes through our community.

Trends and Data

The information below was prepared by the University of Iowa Office of the Dean of Students and represents student citations and arrests in Iowa City by UI Police and the Iowa City Police Department. Click here or the table below for a larger view.


The data above is for the academic years from August 10 through May 13 excluding winter break. In 2012, a new date range was implemented. Previous years have been adjusted on this report to reflect that change. As a result, a comparison to previous years will not be accurate.

Causes for Trend

There are many possible reasons why students are being arrested at a higher rate than previously. These are a few possible causes.

  • It’s possible that more students are engaged in criminal activity than before.
  • By increasing the University of Iowa law enforcement budget and ramping up policing efforts (as we have), it’s likely that more students are being arrested — even if the actual per capita rate of violations remained constant.
  • Changes in leniency could result in more citations and arrests. For example, if fewer warnings are being given for some lesser offenses.


The suggestions below are aggregated from comments posted to our Facebook discussion page. These are ideas submitted for helping reduce crime and arrest rates among students.

  • Considering that alcohol is involved in more than 40% of all violent crimes, more should be done to encourage responsible drinking.
  • Increasing the drinking age may reduce drinking among young people, but it can also increase the number of people arrested for drinking under age. If we’re going to have an age-based sliding-scale partial prohibition on alcohol, we need to make sure those who are drinking under-age get disciplined, but don’t end up with a criminal record.
  • We should install breathalyzer machines in downtown Iowa City and get people sent home in taxi cabs before they get intoxicated to the point of being arrested for public intoxication. That would save everyone a lot of trouble. Most people probably don’t have an accurate intuitive sense of how inebriated they are.
  • We can’t simply reduce policing and ignore people who are breaking the law. We need to also look for ways to reduce crime to make our community genuinely safe.


The comments below come from our Facebook discussion page.

  • “I recently heard about three University of Iowa law students who had been drinking in downtown Iowa City. Feeling it might not be safe to drive home, they decided to walk instead and left their car downtown. A police officer stopped them, and despite hearing their story of ‘responsible drinking’ the officer arrested them. This seems like an example where better policing practices should have been implemented.”


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