Fairfield University campus safety is in “very good shape” in terms of its crime statistics, according to the Department of Public Safety.
Fairfield recently released its crime statistics, in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, which mandates that college security submit annual reports before Oct. 1.
In regards to the numbers for Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 of 2012, “we see a lot of consistency over the board,” John Ritchie, assistant director of DPS, said.
He added, “There’s been no drastic changes for this year or in the last three years.”
Larceny and theft incidents showed a gradual decrease since 2009, diminishing from 80 to 49 in 2012, the lowest number in the past three years.
Disciplinary referrals for liquor law violations were 1,072, which is 81 less than referrals for 2011.
That is not to say that statistics did show slight increases in other areas.
In this year’s report, referrals for drug abuse violations totaled 69, as opposed to last year’s 38. Arrests for drug abuse violations came to 32, eight more than the 2011 statistics. Such drugs include cocaine, heroin, marijuana and barbiturates.
Ritchie said of these statistics, “That doesn’t faze us too much.”
Drug abuse violations come in waves, he said, citing that in 2010, statistics showed 92 disciplinary referrals, but then in 2011, 38 violations.
Freshman Teon Smith said he was initially “shocked” at the number of arrests and referrals for drug abuse. He believes that whatever was done in 2011 to prevent such related statistics should be instigated again. Lowering the number “could be done.”
In addition to an increase of drug abuse on campus, forcible sexual offenses incidents totaled to four – three occurring in student residences and one in an off-campus facility. In the 2011 calendar year, public safety reported zero incidents in this category. Such offenses include rape, sodomy and fondling.
Sexual offenses are the most under-reported crimes, said Ritchie, and in this case people choose to utilize the confidential reporting offered by DPS.
Burglary crimes, different from larceny (when the item is stolen directly from them), has increased. Last year, a slew of burglaries in the townhouses occurred. In addition, hate crimes based off race also saw two incidents in the last year.
“It’s not like I’m expecting that the campus [crime statistics] would be pitch perfect,” Christopher Gutierrez ‘17. He added that it’s “natural,” or reflective of human fallacy, that crimes would be committed.
Looking at other categories with zero or a small number of incidents in the past years, Gutierrez said that “it comes to show that our campus is fairly safe.”
Ritchie said: “Fairfield is very fortunate to be located where we’re at. We’re fortunate to have formal perimeter – or borders around campus – which prevents a lot of outsiders from freely walking on the campus.”
But, “Unfortunately, because everyone has an open attitude towards safety [on campus], we’re going to still see some of these statistics,” he said.
Smith also said that the crime statistics on Fairfield campus “would be different for other campuses.”
The guidelines for campus security reporting underwent a wave of changes when 19-year-old Jeanne Clery was found dead in her third-floor dorm at Lehigh University. An autopsy showed that she had been raped and then strangled with a metal coil by a fellow student. Her parents sued the school and launched a nationwide cause for better reporting for all college campuses and in 1990, the Clery Act, formerly the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act, was signed.