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Stanford report: Sex crimes and stalking up, burglaries down

 

The number of reported sex crimes and stalkings rose on the Stanford University campus in 2014, while burglaries and liquor-law violations dramatically dropped, according to a new campus crime report, titled "Stanford University Safety, Security and Fire Report 2015."

The annual report, which covers crime statistics, university policy and offers resources and definitions for violent and nonviolent crimes affecting Stanford students that occurred on and off campus, was issued by the Stanford Department of Public Safety this week. The comprehensive report also includes resources and information on reporting crimes, definitions, emergency preparation and procedures and fire statistics.

The 98-page document follows the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act, which requires higher education institutions to produce an annual report containing crime and fire incident statistics and safety policies. It covers the year 2014 and includes comparisons with crimes in 2012 and 2013.

The report also breaks out crimes at student residences. Most sexual assaults and burglaries occur at residences, the study shows.

A number of violence-related crimes increased, but at least one major property crime category dropped significantly.

The biggest jumps in crimes involving persons rather than belongings were stalking and aggravated-assault cases. Stalking incidents more than doubled, with 14 cases in 2014 compared to six in 2013 and only one in 2012. Aggravated assaults more than tripled, from three in 2013 to 10 in 2014, returning to the 2012 level, according to the report.

Rapes also increased significantly, from 16 in 2013 to 26 in 2014. The majority of those offenses -- 22 in 2014 -- occurred at student residences. But cases of reported fondling decreased, with four incidents in 2014 compared to 10 in 2013.

The jump in rapes could be due to changes in how sex crimes are defined, the report noted. In 2012, rape was defined as being forcible and against someone's will or where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of temporary or permanent incapacity. But the 2013 Violence Against Women Act defines as rape other offenses previously categorized as "forcible sex offenses," such as penetration of any kind without the victim's consent.

The report did not categorize incidents of university-related discipline for sex offenses, although disciplinary actions for liquor, drug and weapons possession were noted.

Among other violent crimes, the university saw an increase in domestic violence cases, from 10 in 2013 to 13 in 2014, but that number is lower than in 2012, which had 19 cases. There were no cases of reported dating violence in 2014, according to the report, but that category can be combined with domestic violence under certain parameters.

Domestic violence, dating violence and stalking are new crime categories required under the Violence Against Women Act, but Stanford voluntarily added domestic violence and stalking to its crime categories in 2012 using California Penal Code statutes, according to the report.

The Violence Against Women Act also added gender identity and national origin to categories of bias for hate crimes. Stanford had two hate crimes in 2014, one of which was gender-related. One was a racial slur painted on a campus sculpture; the second was a threat based on sexual orientation, which was written on the door at a student residence.

Among property crimes, thefts from motor vehicles or golf carts rose from 19 in 2013 to 27 in 2014. But burglaries fell by nearly half, from 96 in 2013 to 51 in 2014, continuing a trend from the previous two years. More than half of burglaries occurred at student residences, according to the report.

The university also saw a significant drop in liquor-law arrests, dropping from 89 in 2013 to 38 in 2014.

Seven students received campus disciplinary actions for liquor violations. Only three offenses under disciplinary actions taken: liquor law, drug and weapon possession violations.

To decrease crime, Stanford conducted 10 threat-assessment and awareness trainings for staff in 2014 as part of its violence prevention program.

As part of crime prevention, the Department of Public Safety and University Planning in the past 18 months commissioned a lighting survey to identify dark areas of the campus. The Public Safety Department also worked with housing administrators to develop a key-tracking system to reduce housing crime. In the next 24 months, 25 to 30 additional emergency blue tower phones will be added to the campus and housing security assessments will continue, the report noted.

The university installed additional fire-alarm systems in laboratories, a library, stores and 14 student housing buildings to improve fire safety. Science and research buildings now have sprinkler systems covering 99 percent of floor space. The university made a commitment to install sprinkler systems in all graduate housing, and additional fire-safety improvements are being added in some undergraduate housing.

The campus experienced seven fires in student housing that were unintentional or caused by cooking. One incident caused an estimated $25,000 to $45,000 in damage, while the others each caused between $100 and $900 damages. No one was injured, according to the report.

The complete report can be read here.

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