Sexual assault, drug abuse and domestic violence were some of the highlights of the 2015 Clery Report.
The Clery Act was signed in 1990 to require that all college campuses in the U.S. report any crimes that were committed on their campuses and that they share information regarding attempts to improve public safety.
Fairfield’s 2015 Clery Report was released this past Saturday.
Along with including advice from the Department of Public Safety about how to be vigilant and safe, the report also includes statistics from 2015 of how many of crimes were reported in correlation with the 2014, 2013 and 2012 data of the same incidents.
“This year’s Clery Report was what we expected, statistically speaking,” commented Assistant Director of DPS John Ritchie. “Everything seems to be running under normal conditions. There’s really not too many drastic things that we didn’t anticipate.”
Last year, the number of reported sexual offenses was four, which was down from the nine reported sexual offenses in 2014.
“The fact that the number of sexual offenses went down surprises me because you hear so much about Brock Turner and other cases like his,” said Catherine Pezzella ‘17. “I heard at least “three other stories like his.”
Additionally, the amount of drug abuse violations decreased.
Last year there were 22, while in 2014 there were 33.
Junior Anthony Szymonik was surprised by these statistics.
“It seems like at Fairfield, they do a good job at getting on top of that, but I still thought there would have been so many more [drug abuse violations],” said Szymonik. “It seems like the media always plays a role in how prominent we think it is, but I guess it’s wrong.”
Ritchie spoke on the relatively new topics of stalking, dating violence and domestic violence.
“[They] are now required to be in our Clery Report,” he said. “Although we started them last year, I think this is the first year they were required to be reported on.”
Ritchie was caught off guard by the number of domestic violence incidents on campus.
Ritchie explained that domestic violence relationships refer “to boyfriends and girlfriends who are in a long-term relationship rather than a temporary or short-term relationship. We actually had three of those incidents on campus, which was a little surprising.”
Another change in the reporting from previous years that Ritchie commented on was the inclusion of where the crimes occurred.
The different locations included on-campus student residences, off-campus facilities and public property.
However, the biggest change in statistics was the liquor law violations for disciplinary referrals.
“There has been a significant decrease of liquor law violations,” explained Ritchie. In 2014 there were 642, while last year there were only 313, according to the report.
“That has a direct correlation to the new tracking system,” explained Ritchie. “We are now able to narrow down the number of persons involved more specifically rather than generically. So now when an incident might involve numerous people, we can figure out how many people involved in a particular incident were actually involved in underage possession … The number of incidents aren’t necessarily down. We’re just able to focus in better on the number of students involved.”
However, Ritchie was disappointed by the fact that there was a hate crime on campus.
“It was a vandalism case. Somebody wrote something offensive on a board. We would really like to see no hate crimes take place on Fairfield U. We’re number two in the northeast, right? That’s got to have some kind of meaning.”
Ritchie added that the most problematic crimes on campus were the burglaries and larcenies.
“We had 11 burglaries this year. Last year we had 10 … Larceny is at 41, which is a pretty good drop
“I think one of the reasons we see a drop is because of cameras in the [Residence Halls.] It helps solve some of our problems.”
Ritchie concluded by reminding students to always remain vigilant to avoid burglaries and larcenies from happening to them.
“Lock your door, even if you’re just going to the shower or using the restroom down the hall,” he said. “At the library, don’t leave your laptop unattended. Don’t leave your bag or a wallet or a thumb drive unattended.”