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University crime statistics report shows decrease in alcohol violations, increase in rapes

Campus Police Vehicle. Photograph: Soham Parikh/The Guardian

Wright State University recently released its Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, a report of the university’s crime and student security statistics.

In accordance with The Clery Act, which mandates that colleges provide transparency around crime statistics, Wright State is required to produce a report on a yearly basis.

Assembling the report was a tag-team effort on behalf of Curtis Liska, emergency management and Clery compliance director; University Police Lieutenant David Cox; and Chris Taylor, director of community standards and student conduct.

“The idea behind Clery is transparency. It requires them [universities] to disclose not only crimes going on in and around campus, but also to disclose various safety and security-related policies and programs. It is an act to make sure universities are developing programs to ensure student security and safety,” Liska said.

The act also requires that universities send out “timely warnings,” which at Wright State take the form of emails about recent robberies or burglaries occurring on campus, Liska said.

Although the report is dated 2018, it reports statistics on 2017. Notable statistics are: a decrease in alcohol-related violations and an increase in rape violations from two to nine.

“Whenever there’s a significant uptick or downtick in one particular index, the Department of Education asks us to justify the change,” Liska said. “All we could really say about the decrease in alcohol violations was that it looks like 2016 was an anomaly.”

The increase in reported rape cases is a bit different. In 2013, the Clery Act was modified to require institutions to report crime statistics on dating violence, domestic violence and stalking. That was a result of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Most of the definitions for sexual assault crimes have also changed recently.

Additionally, a recent change to FBI standards changed the definition from a system with two central categories: forcible and non-forcible, to a set of definitions which broke out and specified crimes including sexual assault, rape and fondling, according to Liska. The definitions in the crime report, especially in the gender-based harassment section, come primarily from the changes made to the Clery Act and changes made to FBI standards.

In any case, the annual report is an example of Wright State’s continued effort to ensure students’ safety.