Crime report shows no significant increase
By Amanda Hickey
There were 12 cases of simple assault in 2005, compared to five in 2004.
Jeanne Ann Clery is a name that college and university campuses across America will never forget.
Clery was a 19-year-old freshman at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., when she was raped and murdered while sleeping in her residence hall on April 5,1986.
After their daughter’s death, Connie and Howard Clery discovered that students hadn't been told about 38 violent crimes on the Lehigh campus in the three years before their daughter’s murder.
Photo by Terri Rorke
The blue light of a panic button is a common sight around the campus.
After the discovery, the Clerys joined with other campus crime victims and persuaded Congress to enact a law which was originally known as “Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990,” according to securityoncampus.org.
The Act “a part of the Higher Education Act of 1965, is a federal law that requires colleges and universities to disclose certain timely and annual information about campus crime and security policies.”
“All public and private institutions of post secondary education participating in federal student aid programs are subject to it.
Violators can be ‘fined’ up to $27,500 by the U.S. Department of Education, the agency charged with enforcement of the Act and where complaints of alleged violations should be made, or face other enforcement action,” continued the site.
The Clerys also founded the non-profit Security On Campus, Inc. in 1987.
In 1992 the law was amended to add a requirement that schools afford the
victims of campus sexual assault certain basic rights.
The act was amended again in1998 to expand the reporting requirements.
“The 1998 amendments also formally named the law in memory of Jeanne Clery,” according to Securityoncampus.org.
In 2000, the law was amended to require schools beginning in 2003 to notify
the campus community about where public "Megan's Law" information about registered sex offenders on campus could be obtained.
“This legislation in itself has been a major factor in creating safer campuses, as colleges and universities have found it necessary to develop more sophisticated crime prevention programs, and increase police operations in general,” according to UNCP Police Chief David Helton.
“Each school must disclose crime statistics for the campus, unobstructed public areas immediately adjacent to or running through the campus, and certain non-campus facilities, including Greek housing and remote classrooms.
“The statistics must be gathered from campus police or security, local law enforcement, and other school officials who have ‘significant responsibility for student and campus activities, such as student judicial affairs directors,” according to securityoncampus.org.
Schools are required to report a variety of crimes.
“Crimes are reported in the following seven major categories, with several sub-categories:
• Criminal Homicide broken down by Murder and Non-negligent Manslaughter and Negligent manslaughter
• Sex Offenses broken down by Forcible Sex Offenses (includes rape) and Nonforcible Sex Offense
• Aggravated Assault
• Motor Vehicle Theft
“Schools are also required to report the following three types of incidents if they result in either an arrest or disciplinary referral:
• Liquor Law Violations
• Drug Law Violations
• Illegal Weapons Possession.
“If both an arrest and referral are made, only the arrest is counted,” the site continued.
Campus crime statistics
Despite UNCP’s recent population growth, the crime rates have not increased significantly.
According to the crime statistics, UNCP had eight cases of aggravated assault in 2005 compared to seven in 2004.
In 2005 there were 58 cases of burglary, up four from 2004. However, there were approximately 50 percent fewer cases of vandalism in 2005 than in 2004.
There was also a drop in weapon referrals. There were eight in 2004, and four in 2005.
“One might reason that growth will likely affect the crime rate simply by doing the math. As our population increases, the police will see an increase in calls for assistance. Thus far, we have seen an increase in the number of calls we receive, but crime in itself has not increased significantly,” Helton said.
“I think this lack of increase can be attributed in part to the efforts of the men and women in our department, and the numerous crime prevention programs that are offered. But, it's a known fact that we can not be successful without everyone helping. Best spoken, safety is a shared responsibility,” police Chief Helton said.
“Faculty, staff and students have to be aware of their surroundings, think smart, think safety, report suspicious persons and/or activity, and look out for their neighbors,” Helton continued.
Campus Police cannot keep UNCP safe by themselves.
“We put a great deal of effort into keeping our campus safe, i.e. adding 20 cctv's this past summer, to increase our total system to more than 50 cameras; lighting has been increased in areas that the SGA identified as in need..People must help us, as we cannot keep the campus safe by ourselves,” he said.
“Think smart, don't walk alone late at night; lock your room and engrave valuable property; don't allow people to use your room when you're not there, etc,” Helton said.
The annual crime report is sent to the Department of Education and is also provided to faculty, staff and students, no later than Oct. 1 of each academic year.
The UNCP annual report is available at http://www.uncp.edu/police .