The Department of Public Safety released the annual Clery Report last week, which listed the number of reportable crimes committed on all five of the University of Rhode Island’s campuses.
The Clery Report contained crime and fire statistics from 2015-2017. The University releases the Clery Report each year in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security and Crime Statistics Act. The Act requires all Universities that receive federal financial aid to maintain and disclose statistics on campus crime and security information.
Out of the five URI campuses, the Kingston location was the only one to have more than a single crime listed on the Clery Report for 2017. This is because the Kingston campus is home to most students and is also the only URI campus with residence halls.
In 2017, the following crimes occurred on URI’s Kingston Campus as specified. There were 15 reported offenses of rape, two reported offenses of fondling, one robbery offense, three aggravated assaults and 18 instances of burglary.
Also in the report were offenses that specifically violated the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA). There were 11 offenses of reported domesticated violence, three offenses of dating violence, three offenses of stalking and 17 offenses of sexual assault.
The following number of arrests and referrals were recorded for substance or weapon violations in Kingston. There were 15 arrests made for liquor law violation, five arrests for drug law violation, two arrests for weapon law violation, 548 referrals for liquor law violation, one drug law violation and one referral of weapon law violation.
Stephen Baker, the director of public safety and chief of police, said the numbers in the Clery Report were generally what he expected, and the Kingston Campus is overall safe.
“I think our efforts are working to work with the community to solve and prevent crimes,” Baker said. “I’m pretty confident we’re as safe as most other campuses our size, if not safer.”
Domestic violence was the only offense that increased by more than five offenses. Seven more domestic violence cases were reported last year than in 2016.
Two crimes decreased by more than five offenses. Reports of burglary decreased by seven offenses. Reports of liquor law violations decreased by 52 arrests and 53 referrals.
All other crimes recorded in the Clery Act either increased or decreased by a margin of five or fewer offenses.
Baker said the University’s focus on community policing is a way to help reduce crimes that occur. “Our community policing philosophy is that we work together with our campus partners to try to prevent and eliminate the causes of crime,” Baker said.
Community policing can also have an increase in the number of crimes that are reported. While this may cause the number of offenses in the Clery Report to increase, it does not mean more crimes are being committed. Rather, it means that more of the crimes are being documented.
“People are more apt to report things they didn’t report before,” Baker said, “ which is good.” “We’d rather see somebody report something that turns out to be nothing, than not to report something that turns out to be something.”
Baker estimated that approximately 50 percent of serious crimes on campus go unreported, with some crimes being more likely to go unreported than others.
“Usually robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, we do get those reports, along with motor-vehicle theft and arson,” Baker said. “We know sexual assaults are under-reported.”
The most common crime on the Kingston Campus was liquor law violations. A total of 548 liquor law violation referrals were reported in 2017. Baker said in some cases, police will write a referral for the student rather than make an arrest.
“The Dean of Students will take care of the sanctions and we save the person from going to court, or, in some cases, being charged twice,” Baker said. “Anytime somebody has any trouble with the police, whether they’re arrested or not, it’s going to be referred to the Dean of Students.”
In addition to reports of crime, the Clery Report also listed four fires in living areas on the Kingston Campus in 2017. Garrahy Hall, the University Gateway Village Apartments and Wiley Hall each had a stove fire that caused less than $100 in damages. The fire in the University Gateway Village Apartments caused a minor injury. One fire occurred in Phi Sigma Sigma’s sorority house and caused $3,300 in damages. It was caused by an oven and did not result in any injuries.
Very little crime was reported on the other four URI campuses. One aggravated assault was reported on the Feinstein College of Educational and Professional Studies campus, which is located in Providence. One burglary was reported at the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center, which is also located in Providence.
No crimes listed under the Clery Report were reported at the Narragansett Bay Campus or the W. Alton Jones Campus, which is located in West Greenwich.
Online copies of the Clery Report can be found on the URI website and hard copies can be picked up at the police station on Briar Road.