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Annual Security Report Indicates Decline in Crime on Campus

Maybe you already skimmed this year’s crime statistics, or maybe you immediately deleted the message from Gabe Gates titled “Penn State’s Annual Security and Fire Report – University Park” under the naive assumption that it was junk mail. Either way, chances are that you didn’t actually read through all 43 pages of the 2014 report,Policies, Safety, & U,” but it included good news — the numbers of most crimes have declined since last year.

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security and Crime Statistics Act requires Penn State to publish an Annual Security and Fire Safety Report. It also requires Penn State to make said report available to all students and employees of the university. The report is supposed to include campus safety and security policy statements along with (the part most people read and care about) crime statistics for the past three years.

According to this report, last year there were 40 burglaries, 19 aggravated assaults, 17 forcible sexual offenses, and eight fires reported on campus. Additionally, 10 forcible sexual offenses occurred off campus in buildings that are owned or controlled by Penn State, and one forcible sexual offense occurred off campus on public property.

“Nearly all crimes listed in the report remained level or declined at University Park, including a drop in alcohol arrests from 834 in 2012 to 750 in 2013,” said Gabe Gates, Penn State’s Clery Compliance Manager. “The report also includes a rise in referrals of students to the Office of Student Conduct. This can be attributed to strengthening of policy surrounding adherence to the student code of conduct.”

Though aggravated assaults appear to be on the rise based on these statistics (from six in 2011, to 12 in to 2012, to 19 in 2013), the majority of the crimes listed are waning since years past. The numbers of burglaries, fires, alcohol arrests, and drug arrests have all decreased.

Although many people are excited about the decrease in reported sexual assaults from 56 in 2012 to 17 in 2013, it is important to remember that an estimated 60 percent of sexual assaults go unreported. Additionally, timely warnings from PSUAlerts regarding sexual offenses on campus keep coming, so we’re certainly still facing a big (scary) issue.

“Penn State’s campuses are safe, and the issues we face reflect those faced at other Universities and in society,” said Gates. “We always are working to find ways to make our campuses even safer, review policy, and work to increase awareness.”

About the Author

Alicia Thomas

Alicia is a senior with majors in Print Journalism and Spanish and a minor in International Studies. Chances are that she's somewhere talking about her semester abroad or ranting about sexual assault prevention right now. She can be reached via Twitter (@aliciarthomas) or email ([email protected]).

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