By Kendra Davis
Co-Editor in Chief
The University’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report for 2012 was released to the public last month. While certain trends found therein were consistent with those of years past, others were not.
The most noticeable change was in the number of on-campus liquor law referrals, which has increased by roughly 100 per year since 2009, when 752 incidents were reported.
By 2011, that number—which refers to any liquor law violation that leads to disciplinary action but not arrest—jumped to 946. Each referral requires the student to visit the Dean of Students’ Office, and the punishment can range from a written warning to expulsion.
The report notes that if there is an incident involving a group of students, even though one official referral may be written out, one referral per student is recorded for data collection.
“Villanova diligently enforces the University’s alcohol policies, and that is reflected in our statistics,” Director of Public Safety David Tedjeske said. “ At the same time, there is much work to be done on the alcohol issue here on our campus, as well as at campuses across the country.”
The number of liquor law arrests has also increased, though not as sharply as referrals. Up from 38 in 2009, 61 liquor-related arrests were reported in 2011, with two-thirds of them occurring on campus.
All but one of the remaining arrests happened on “public property,” which the report distinguishes from “non-campus property,” including buildings owned or frequently used by the University that are not within campus boundaries.
Drug-related violations also increased, although, in general, they occur far less frequently than those related to alcohol. The year 2011 saw 62 referrals and eight arrests in contrast with 45 referrals and three arrests in 2009.
While no more than three robberies have been recorded either on or off campus in the past three years, the number of burglaries increased more than threefold between 2009 and 2010.
Defined as the unlawful entry into a space with the intent to commit a theft or felony, a total of 23 burglaries were reported in 2010, up from just seven the year before. The number dropped to 18 in 2011, still more than double what it had been two years earlier. Tedjeske attributes some of the spike to a methodological change in the way the statistics were compiled.
Other notable findings include two on-campus motor vehicle thefts last year, one incident of aggravated assault in the last three years and zero weapons possession referrals across the board, though the report does not specify what a weapons violation would entail.
Reports of sexual assault are less clearly defined in the report than other categories. The recorded number of non-forcible sex offenses, defined by federal law as incest and statutory rape, is zero for all three years that the report covers.
Using state crime classifications, the University reported one rape in 2009, three in 2010 and four in 2011.
In the “Other Sex Offenses” category, which is not defined in the report, the University recorded four in 2009, one in 2010 and three in 2011, bringing the total number of sexual assaults in accordance with Pennsylvania law to five in 2009, four in 2010 and seven in 2011.
By federal law, however, the total numbers for the same years are three, four and six, implying a discrepancy between the way the state and national governments define various sex offenses.
“For [sexual assault] incidents that are reported to Public Safety, our number one priority is the safety of the student,” Tedjeske said. “We encourage students to seek medical attention, either on or off campus. We also encourage the victim to report the incident to the local police, but also respect their decision should they choose not to do so.”
In terms of hate crimes, 11 were reported to Public Safety between 2009 and 2011, with the total number diminishing every year.
All of the hate crimes were instances of vandalism in the form of graffiti in residence halls. Of the seven in 2009, four were motivated by racial bias, two by religion and one by the perceived or actual sexual orientation of the victim.The number dropped to three in 2010, two of which were racially-motivated and one related to the victim’s perceived or actual sexual orientation.
The single incident last year was racially motivated, making hate crimes due to racial bias a common trend for all three years.The statistics found within the annual brochure are only those that were reported to a campus security authority, though said authority is not limited to the Department of Public Safety, as Tedjeske mentioned.
“For example, if someone reports a sexual assault to the dean of Students Office, a coach or even an RA, it must be counted in the annual statistics—even if the student never speaks to anyone in Public Safety,” he said.
The facts and figures are not compiled from anything that was exclusively reported to an off-campus enforcement body such as Radnor Police, however. Thus, the statistics may not be entirely reflective of the true number of crime-related incidents on campus in any given year.