In accordance with the Jeanne Clery Act, the Department of Public Safety recently released an Annual Security Report recording crime statistics for the campus and information on security policies at Fairfield.

According to Todd Pelazza, director of DPS, the results “weren’t too surprising,” as they tended to follow the same trends DPS has seen in the past.

According to the report, there was a 36.23 percent increase in disciplinary referrals for drug abuse violations in 2013 compared to 2012.

However, according to Pelazza, this shouldn’t be a cause for any alarm, since the increase can be attributed to “the proactivity of both DPS and residence life” in reporting these incidents.

DPS also reported over an 18 percent increase in the amount of disciplinary referrals for liquor law violations from 2012 to 2013.

Such an increase wasn’t shocking at all for Rachel Carlowicz ‘18.

“I feel like people are becoming progressively more radical and extreme in their alcohol consumption,” Carlowicz said.

While there was more than a 23 percent decrease in the total number of burglary incidents, student residences saw a 120 percent increase in larceny and theft.

New categories for 2014 report include stalking (2 incidents), dating violence (1 incident) and domestic violence (0 incidents).

Not a single hate crime was reported in 2013 among many categories: race, gender, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin and disability.

The number of sexual assaults reported totaled to four, remaining constant with 2012’s amount.

Pelazza believes that this statistic should actually be considered positive.

“We’ve really created a strong emphasis on education, awareness and encouraging people to report those offenses,” Pelazza said. “The offense of sexual misconduct is the most underrated reportable offense throughout the country. For a variety of reasons, people just don’t want to report it.”

Pelazza feels as though the higher number of reported sexual assaults in both 2012 and 2013 as compared to previous years is representative of the fact that victims and bystanders of sexual assault feel more comfortable about notifying DPS or a counseling service about it, which is a major goal of the university.

Freshman Britta Gunneson was shocked to find that this number didn’t decrease over the past year.

“I feel like there’s been a lot of education on how to stay safe in those situations and how to not be a bystander, and I’m surprised that that hasn’t made a difference,” Gunneson said.

Despite noticeable increases in several categories of criminal offenses, Pelazza still believes that Fairfield is a campus students should feel safe at.

According to Associate Director of DPS Frank Ficko, the act was established after Jeanne Clery, a student at Lehigh University, was raped and murdered in her dorm room by a fellow student in 1986.

Her parents sued the school and launched the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act in 1990 in her memory, which is designed to establish a better system of reporting criminal offenses on college campuses nationwide.

“We feel this is a very safe campus,” Pelazza said. He credits this mostly to the fact that the campus is confined. “We lock all the gates at 11:00 p.m. and the only way to come on campus with a car is through the checkpoint.”

However, the impression that Fairfield is a safe campus becomes a challenge because “people get lulled into a false sense of security,” said Pelazza, which may cause people to let their guard down occasionally and forget to take simple safety precautions.

“Anything can happen anywhere and at any time, and that’s what we want to stress with people,” Pelazza said.

About The Author

---- Managing Editor Emeritus---- English: Professional Writing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.