An annual report released by the University of Rhode Island last week revealed that the majority of crimes reported to the university happen on the Kingston Campus.
Every college and university in the United States is required to disclose all crimes that happen on and off their campus each year, and this collected information is made into the Clery Report.
The report is a disclosure of campus security policy and campus crime statistics. Last week, The University of Rhode Island’s Clery Report was published, with separate charts for each of the university’s four campuses: the Kingston Campus, the Providence Campus, the Narragansett Bay Campus and the W. Alton Jones Campus in West Greenwich.
Some of the most notable offences outlined in the report included three forcible sex offences, which is half of the six from the 2013 report, and two aggravated assaults, double that of the previous year. There were also a reported 23 burglaries in 2014, a number that has decreased from 51 in 2013 and 60 in 2012. There were no reported motor vehicle thefts or arson, noting a decline from past years.
There were six reports of domestic violence last year, five more than 2013. Dating violence reports stayed the same, with 12 accounts reported for both 2014 and 2013. There were also 13 reports of stalking and one report of weapons on campus last year.
“Some of the dating violence, particularly the stalking, went up which could be a result of education and people reporting these things,” said Stephen Baker, the director of public safety. “We want people to report so they get the help and the assistance that they need.”
A majority of the reports come from liquor and drug violations. The Clery Report separates these offences into arrests and referrals. Liquor arrests went up to 16 in 2014 from the nine in 2013, and referrals increased from 657 in 2013 to 677 in 2014.
Drug arrests dropped from 41 in 2013 to just 21 last year. However, drug referrals increased dramatically. The referrals hit 551 in 2014, which is a major change from the 124 in 2013 and even the 208 in 2012.
Harassment reports are also listed. There were no reports of harassment in previous years but in 2014 there were three reports of race harassment, 11 of gender harassment, two of sexual orientation harassment and one of ethnicity harassment.
“These are things that have only been started to get reported in previous years,” Baker said. He said with more education on the topic of harassment and knowing what to look for, it is easier to see it and to report it.
The Office of Public Safety is always trying to get the knowledge to report things people see out to the student body. Baker said that they participate in a lot of the URI 101 classes, giving a safety talk and now even showing a safety video.
“I think that’s important to get to the students early, especially the freshman,” Baker said. “I think they’re the most vulnerable because it’s a new environment for them and maybe a little bit too trusting so we try to reach them through URI 101.”
This year, bike and foot patrolling officers have been seen all over campus, giving the officers better access to areas on campus that may have been inaccessible to patrol cars in past years.
“It helps prevent crimes, but it also helps the community feel that the police officers are more approachable so likely to get more reports,” Baker said. “It is very beneficial to the community in prevention and in catching the acts.”
Students at the University of Rhode Island are receiving many emails regarding their safety. They also learn about safety measures in their URI 101 class and see the emergency phones and blue light systems throughout the campus.
“I feel safe, but I’m not a girl so it is different,” said Thomas Sheeran, a junior at URI. “I never feel threatened at any time and I feel like things only happen to the girls on campus.”
Elizabeth Felag, also junior at the university, said though she does feel safe when walking through campus she still takes precautions.
“I know of the lights and security cameras around, but I do tend to have a friend with me if I know I’m going to be walking around later in the day just to feel safer,” Felag said. “But I do feel safe on campus for the most part but do take the extra precautions for obvious reasons.”
With the Blue Light Phones and the police officers that now patrol on bike and foot, the university is working hard to make sure it’s students feel safe.
“I have to believe some of the reports are because people are reporting now and may have not in the past,” Baker said. “There’s a lot of education with the students and with the RAs and police officers and HRL staff so they know what to look for and make sure the report goes through the proper channels.”
If you see an emergency or a crime, or you are a victim of a crime call (401) 874-2121 to report it.