Dartmouth releases annual Security and Fire Safety report

by Rachel Pakianathan | 10/4/17 2:26am

Dartmouth released its annual Security and Fire Safety report — also known as the Clery Act report — for 2016 on Sunday, showing no major changes from last year’s report.

Clery Act Compliance Officer Allison O’Connell said that the College annually discloses incidents of crime and fire that have occurred on or around Dartmouth property. From 2014 to 2015, the College saw a decrease in reported rape cases from 48 to 20. The data for 2016 showed a slight increase from 2015 with 25 reported rape cases.

O’Connell attributed the overall decline in reported rape cases to the changes in staffing and training across campus that have been implemented in recent years. She said that the College has increased efforts to educate students on the available resources, particularly the difference between private and confidential options.

Confidential resources may not share a student’s information without his or her express consent, unless there is imminent danger to the student or others.

“I think that people accessing confidential resources instead of private resources could lead to a decrease in the amount of Clery crime statistics,” O’Connell said. “But in no way to me is it a negative if people are getting the help that is most supportive to them.”

Student and Presidential Committee on Sexual Assault president Abhilasha Gokulan ’18 said that while reported rape cases have decreased since 2014, it is difficult to conclusively link the decline to on-campus sexual assault prevention efforts. Gokulan speculated that reported rape cases may have decreased in part because of decreased sexual assault reporting rates, explaining that different cohorts of students may be more or less inclined to report sexual assault because of their experiences during freshman orientation, interactions with College administrators or access to sexual assault resources on campus.

The Clery report also showed an increase in hate crime offenses since previous years, rising from four incidents in 2014 and one incident in 2015 to 10 in 2016. Nine of the 10 reported incidents pertained to the repeated theft of the gender-inclusive bathroom signs at the Collis Center last September, according to senior associate dean of student affairs Liz Agosto.

“Whether or not [hate crime offenses] will spike or continue in that direction is not clear, since in 2016 it was really focused on a particular incident, and we’ve taken action to address that,” Agosto said.

In 2016, 20 burglaries were reported at the College, a number consistent with data from previous years. Interim Safety and Security director Keysi Montás said that the College is making efforts to bring more controlled access to various locations on campus, such as limiting building entrance to those with Dartmouth IDs.

Reported liquor and drug law violations for 2016 were also consistent with the data from 2015, continuing a general decline in arrests and disciplinary referrals since 2014. In 2016, there were 40 arrests for liquor law violations, compared to 45 in 2015 and 100 in 2014. Similarly, in 2016 there were 293 disciplinary referrals for liquor law violations, whereas in 2015 there were 313 and in 2014 there were 336.

In 2016, there were 11 arrests and 24 disciplinary referrals for drug law violations, compared to nine arrests and 16 referrals in 2015 and 21 arrests and 51 referrals in 2014.

Of the decrease in disciplinary referrals for liquor law violations, O’Connell said it aligns with the College’s data that overall alcohol consumption is decreasing.

“We don’t know if it’s directly correlated, but it’s certainly reflective of what we are seeing in our own alcohol data,” O’Connell.

The seven types of crime and bias-related incidents covered under the Clery Act are not exhaustive and do not include either bike theft or hazing, though both occur at Dartmouth, Agosto said.

“[Hazing] has clear criminal definitions, but it doesn’t have a Clery definition, so we never have to report it [in this report],” Agosto said.