There’s good news and bad news.
The bad news is that the number of forcible and non-forcible sex offenses, robbery, burglary and arson has reportedly increased, according to UC Davis Clery Act statistics. The good news is that aggravated assaults and motor vehicle theft have reportedly decreased.
Every year, universities around the country are required to release the numbers of nine different categories of crime as a result of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.
The act, enacted by Congress in 1990, was created after Lehigh University student Jeanne Anne Clery was raped and murdered in the school’s freshman residence hall. Her parents were appalled to find that the school had not disclosed 38 other violent crimes in the last three years, so they urged Congress to pass a law requiring this information be public.
“People need to know what is happening in their community,” said UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza. “The more they know, the more alert they can be to their surroundings.”
In compliance with the act, the UC Davis Police Department collected all reported crimes and released the statistics earlier this month. The trends were mixed.
“We have an increase in reported sexual offenses,” said Jennifer Beeman, Campus Violence Prevention Program director. “We do also have an increase in reporting because people know where the resources are and where to get help.”
CVPP has made a concerted effort to lower the sexual assault statistics, which compared to other UC Schools, has the highest instances of occurrence. They have held outreach events to raise awareness of sexual assault and work closely with Counseling and Psychological Services to assist victims of rape and sexual abuse, Beeman said.
Compared to other college campuses, UC Davis is relatively safe in other categories, Spicuzza said.
The report also shows an increase in drug arrests from 25 in 2006 to 32 in 2007. These arrests were mostly marijuana-related.
The Clery report found no instances of negligent or non-negligent manslaughter in 2007 – meaning no murder, purposeful or not, has been reported on campus. The last manslaughter was committed in the late 1990s, when an unaffiliated migrant worker was killed in south campus by Putah Creek, according to the UC Davis Police Department.
The university previously attempted to lower crime by installing phones throughout campus with blue lights attached, making them visible and usable in case of an emergency.
However in the last year, only four out of the 300 times the blue lights were used were actual emergencies, so the university is reconsidering continuing the blue light program on campus.
“Our statistics show that they aren’t using them for real emergencies,” said UC Davis Police Captain Joyce Souza. “We are ensuring that we’re putting our limited money to the best use possible.”
The crime report had no mention of bike traffic, which Spicuzza said is the most hazardous aspect of campus safety.
LAUREN STEUSSY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.