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Clery Act report shows increased rates of theft and sexual harassment

Violence against women and motor vehicle theft emerge as leading offenses, report shows

<p>Per the report, incidents such as fondling, stalking, and motor vehicle theft showed a significant increase in 2021.</p>

Per the report, incidents such as fondling, stalking, and motor vehicle theft showed a significant increase in 2021.

The University released the 2022 Annual Fire Safety and Security Report Friday. The report outlines crime statistics from 2019 to 2021 and demonstrates an increase aggravated assault, robberies and sexual harrasment within the last year.

Per the report, incidents such as fondling, stalking, and motor vehicle theft showed a significant increase in 2021. Fondling rose from eight incidents in both 2019 and 2020 to 25 incidents this past year. Motor vehicle theft rose from four reports in 2020 to 19 in 2021. Stalking also increased from 13 cases to 42, a number that matches 2018 and 2019 levels.

Aggravated assault incidents have doubled to 14 compared to the seven in both 2019 and 2020. Robberies in 2021 totaled four and saw an increase from two in both 2019 and 2020, and burglary increased from seven in 2020 to 12 in 2021. Rape incidents increased from 11 in 2020 to 15 in 2021, climbing back toward numbers close to the 17 reported in 2019.

Hate crimes also increased. While in 2019, only one reported hate crime was evident, there were four in both 2020 and 2021. Of the nine total hate crimes over the three years, six were race-based.

The report does not disclose information regarding 2022, but the University has saw a hate crime this year when a noose was draped around the neck of the Homer statue in mid-September.

When comparing 2021 crime rates to 2020 rates, Meghan Rapp, assistant vice president for Clery compliance and youth protection, said the pandemic was a factor.

“Because of so many things either being temporarily closed or distancing requirements, we had a huge decrease in so many interactions and so many incident types that typically happen,” Rapp said. “So our 2021 information is for the most part a lot closer to sort of a normal operation.”

To combat these issues, Rapp said the University’s resources and partnerships with federal agents are critical.

“We take [hate crimes] very, very seriously,” Rapp said. “We follow up on every single incident and threat as appropriate, and sometimes that means engaging our federal partners like the FBI.”

Although most crime has increased, drug abuse violations decreased from 2020 to 2021. There were 34 incidents of drug abuse referred for disciplinary action in 2020 and 25 in 2021. Six drug abuse arrests were made in 2020, and only four were made in 2021.

The number of liquor law violations has decreased slightly, transitioning from 328 in 2019 to 319 in 2020 and 325 in 2021. While there were 19 alcohol-related arrests in 2019, those numbers declined in the following years to four and six in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

In regards to the high levels of liquor law violations, Rapp said this sector reflects not just arrests, but rather any event that required medical attention. This, Rapp said, demonstrates students are seeking help. 

“We’re here to help with overall safety,” Rapp said. “We want to provide medical support when it comes to a potential overdose of drugs and alcohol, which is life-threatening.”

The fire safety section of the report listed four fires in on-Grounds housing from last year, two of which were deemed unintentional and cost somewhere between $0 to $99 in damages. Another unintentional fire in the basement of the Hench Apartments and a fire in a Balz-Dobie windowsill with an undetermined cause both totaled damages between $10,000 and $24,999 each. None of the fires, however, resulted in injury or death.

Rapp noted that the increase in motorized vehicle theft — which, by definition, includes motorized scooters and bicycles — is a nationwide trend among universities.

“It’s happening in many places, especially places where you have an open campus in a city or an urban environment,” Rapp said.

The University has recently increased security measures on-Grounds to combat theft after reporting nearly one to two thefts every day.

Rapp also recommended registering bikes and scooters  and picking up one of the free u-locks available through the University Police Department.

If needed, individuals can confidentially report crimes either by a mailed or written complaint. Electronic methods through Just Report It or Title IX as well as two apps – TipSubmit or Guardian – are also available. Community members are recommended to sign up to receive text notifications for emergency alerts through the Emergency Management website.


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