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The Dartmouth
May 19, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

2022 Clery Report shows increase in stalking, decrease in rapes between 2019 and 2021

While the Report suggests significant increases in the number of reported crimes since last year, the 2020 statistics were impacted by a decreased population of students on campus during the pandemic.

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On Sept. 30, the College published its Annual Fire and Safety Report, also known as the Clery Report, which details campus crime statistics from 2021 — and also includes data from 2019 and 2020. The report, which is mandated by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1990, found increases in crimes such as liquor law violations, burglary and rape between 2020 and 2021. However, this is likely due to the decreased number of people on Dartmouth’s campus in 2020 because of the pandemic, according to Title IX coordinator Kristi Clemens.

“The report requires us to show a three-year snapshot, and so you might see a high or a low in any given year. It’s not necessarily because there was more or less crime in that particular year, but that’s just when it was reported,” Clemens said. “I think we saw lower numbers in 2020 for obvious reasons, because people weren’t around as much … some numbers [are] coming back up again for the 2021 numbers, just as people returned to in person work and school and had the opportunity to report.”

In 2021, there were 16 reported rapes, up from 10 in 2020 but down from 32 in 2019. This past year also saw a rise of stalking, with 21 instances — up from six in 2020 and nine in 2019. There were 199 disciplinary referrals for liquor law violation reports in 2021, up from 85 in 2020 but down from 249 in 2019.

The impact of COVID-19 and its displacement of campus remains the “biggest confounding factor” for the compilation of statistics in the Clery Act, according to Dartmouth’s Clery Act Compliance officer Grace Alden. Alden added that because 2021 was still “partially a COVID year,” statistics for the year may have been impacted — during the winter and spring terms of 2021, campus dormitories were filled at half capacity.

Some reported crime statistics were similar to their pre-pandemic levels. There were 12 reported instances of fondling, up from four in 2020 but similar in count to the 13 instances in 2019; 12 reported cases of domestic violence, up from zero in 2020 and similar in count to the 13 instances in 2019. Similarly, there were 14 reports of burglary in 2021 and 2019, but only four in 2020; there were also three reports of motor vehicle theft in 2021, up from zero in 2020 and two in 2019.

Conversely, there was also a falling number of reports for drug referrals; only one report was filed for 2021, which is down from seven in 2020 and five in 2019. Similarly, there were 10 reports of arrests for liquor law violations in 2021 compared to the 13 reports in 2020 and 15 in 2019. There were three hate crimes reported in both 2021 and 2020, including incidents characterized by racial, religious and gender bias.  

The above statistics refer only to reports of crimes that occurred on the College’s property in Hanover, which was the only location for which the College would report crimes prior to the 2021 Clery Report, according to Clemens. The report now separates reports of crimes between those that occurred in Hanover and in Lebanon, which includes properties such as Summit on Juniper. On the College’s properties in Lebanon, there was one report of rape, two reports of aggravated assault, one report of domestic violence, 11 reports of drug law violations and 20 disciplinary referrals for drug law violations in 2021.

Both Clemens and Alden said that it is important to remember that the statistics in the report only include reported instances of crime on campus — actual crime statistics may be higher if some instances are unreported. The reports also include crimes in the year that they were reported, not necessarily the year in which the crime occurred, according to Clemens.

“What’s important, I think, for the community to know is that there’s no name associated with [reporting],” Clemens said. “It really is just counting the crimes for the purposes of understanding what’s happening on our campus, not for taking any action in my role as Title IX coordinator.”

Director of the Department of Safety and Security Keiselim Montás said that the department is “careful” when compiling the report to ensure that any one report is not counted twice. 

“[If] we say, ‘No, this happened the same time, same location’ — we don’t know what happened, but we’re pretty certain that we are talking about the same thing,” he said. “Whereas if we don't have those details, then we are just going to have to count it because [we] must report it.”

The creation of a state-wide Good Samaritan Law — which, according to the report, “bars prosecution of anyone for whom medical treatment has been requested” or of anyone who requests medical treatment in a situation that involves risk of overdose due to alcohol or other drugs — that went into effect in Sept. 2020 has affected the statistics for drug and alcohol crime reports in 2021, Alden said. 

Prior to this law, an illegal drug or alcohol violation, even if a student was protected from College judicial action under the College’s own Good Samaritan policy, still constituted a violation of the law and would need to be counted in the Clery Report. Now, according to Alden, such a report would no longer violate the law and is therefore not counted.

“In New Hampshire, if someone has to call for medical aid for you, because you’re intoxicated, or because you have drugs on board or some combination, as a matter of law, you cannot be charged with possession,” Alden said.

The Clery Report is not the only annual report that informs College leadership of on-campus reported crimes. According to Clemens, other data-gathering mechanisms like the Sexual Violence Prevention Program and Title IX’s Sexual Misconduct Survey, in addition to the Clery Report, create “a picture” of on-campus crimes when considering future policies.

“We have to sit down as a full on prevention and response team to look at the data and say, ‘Hey, what do we think is working, what do we think is not working, and what are the areas of concern?’” Clemens said.