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The Dartmouth
April 14, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

2023 Clery Report shows decrease in rape and alcohol violations, increase in motor vehicle theft since 2020

The report, released annually, covers campus crime statistics from the past three years to analyze the relative safety of college campuses across the country.

Dartmouth hall fall leaves.jpeg

On Sept. 29, the Department of Safety and Security released its annual Security and Fire Safety Report, also known as the Clery Report, which detailed a decrease in rape and violations of the College’s alcohol policy, but an increase in motor vehicle theft in the last three years. According to Clery compliance officer Grace Alden, it is important to note that the data looks a bit different this year because 2020 — which saw lower numbers generally because of the COVID-19 pandemic — is the first year represented in the Report’s three-year snapshot. 

Alden explained that the Clery Report covers campus crime statistics from the past three years to analyze the relative safety of college campuses across the country, in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act, or the Clery Act for short.

“This is the first year where the baseline window of those three is the pandemic year, which throws — for what it’s worth — everything into confusion,” Alden said. “We evacuated the campus for three quarters of that year, and no one was around, and numbers naturally plummeted. So this is the first year where it looks like ‘oh, my goodness, they’ve spiked since 2020.’” 

In 2021, Dartmouth reported 199 disciplinary referrals for liquor law violations but reported just 73 in 2022. The decrease is largely the result of New Hampshire’s 2021 Good Samaritan law, which stipulates that students are no longer referred to the police for an alcohol violation, according to Alden.  

“It’s a definitional thing,” she said. “In 2021, New Hampshire enacted a Good Samaritan Law. Prior to that, we had a good Samaritan policy [at Dartmouth], which has changed somewhat since then. We had a policy… on campus, but we have no control over what counts as a violation of the law or not.”

Another notable data point is the decrease in reports of rape, according to Title IX coordinator Kristi Clemens. There were 16 reported rapes in 2021 and six in 2022, according to the report, while incidents of domestic violence dropped from a three-year high of 12 in 2021 to four in 2022. However, lower incident numbers are not always indicative of a decrease in gender-based violence, Clemens added. 

“We always say that we want to see more reports, which sounds counterintuitive, but we do think that reporting demonstrates that there’s confidence in the office, confidence in Dartmouth to take somebody’s report seriously to put in supportive measures and to talk with them about a resolution,” Clemens said.

The number of motor vehicle thefts in 2022 leapt up to 18, a rise from three thefts in 2021 and zero in 2020. Alden said that an increased usage of scooters and skateboards has pushed the number up.

“A motor vehicle is described as any device which runs on land but not on tracks, which has a motor,” she explained. “Now we have scooters everywhere. I own a one-wheel, [it] counts. If you have an electric skateboard with a little remote control, that counts.”

Dartmouth’s statistics are drawn from two campuses — one in Hanover and the other at the Dartmouth Health network in Lebanon, centered around Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.

This year, Dartmouth saw a spike in referrals for drug law violations, up from 20 to 36, and a spike in cases of fondling from zero to seven on its Lebanon campus, according to the report. Neither of these changes were reflected in the numbers for the Hanover campus, it added. 

Burglary remains an issue on campus, according to DoSS director Keysi Montás. There were 23 reported instances in 2022, a rise from 14 in 2021 and just four in 2020, according to the report.

The responsibility is ultimately on students to make sure they are responsible for their belongings, Montás said. 

“In your four years here, you’re going to end up seeing a moose on campus,” Montás said. “You’re going to end up seeing a bear on campus. You’re going to end up seeing a deer on campus. One thing that you’ll never see on campus is a deer running away with somebody’s computer. That will never happen. So lock up your stuff.”