By Melissa Proulx, Staff Writer
On Wednesday, Oct. 1, the University of New Hampshire Police Department published its annual crime statistics in the Clery Report, with only slight changes when compared to last year’s report.
The annual security report provides data from the last three years on 16 different offenses, which are all detailed definitions in the report. Data for the offenses are then split up into four different categories, depending on where they occur. These include: on campus grounds; in the dorms; a non-campus building or property, a building that does not necessarily belong to the school, but is used a recognized student organization or institution that supports UNH’s purposes; or public property that is either on campus or near the campus.
“The Clery Act numbers are just a snapshot of campus crime,” said Executive Director of Public Safety and UNH’s Chief of Police, Paul Dean. “We use crime statistics to analyze police officer deployment, enhance technology and community program development to improve our approach in crime reduction.”
Over the last year, many of the categories have remained the same. For example, there were no reported cases of murder, negligent manslaughter, non-forcible sexual offenses (i.e. incest or statutory rape), illegal weapon arrests, illegal weapon possessions that resulted in disciplinary action or reported hate crimes.
Similarly, the number of reported cases of arson on campus or in resident facilities increased from three and two in 2012 to five and three in 2013, respectively, while there was only one on-campus motor vehicle theft on campus on 2013 as opposed to zero in 2012.
But there were some categories that experienced some seemingly significant changes.
For example, in the last year, the number of reported burglaries on campus more than doubled from seven in 2012 to 17 in 2013. Similarly, the number of liquor law arrests on campus spiked from 235 in 2012 to 314 in 2013.
And when it comes to significant drops, the number of aggravated assaults on campus dropped from six reported cases in 2012 to just three in 2013.
However, these changes do not come as a surprise for Dean.
“The Clery Act results always fluctuate a little each year, but they don’t change too dramatically from year to year,” he said.
Much of this change is due to the better reporting practices of those on campus, according to Dean.
“I think our community policing programs, patrol deployment on known busy nights and, most of all, the change in student behavior about reporting crime and being more community-minded,” he said.
Dean cites the importance of this civic responsibility for creating a safe community for students, faculty and staff alike.
“‘See something, say something.’ Call 911 or use our new LiveSafe app to report any suspicious activity or crime,” he said. “Everyone needs to play a role in maintaining a safe campus community.”
The report is a requirement of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, which was signed into law in 1990, though amendments were made in 2008. The act is a federal law and named for Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old Lehigh freshman who was raped and murdered in her dorm in 1986.
The act makes it so that all reported crimes must be compiled into their annual report as well as be sent out via the UNH Campus Alerts in a timely fashion to let students, faculty and staff know about a crime that occurred.