Annual Clery Report sheds light on campus crimes
Cassie Follman ‘20
The Annual Jeanne Clery Campus Security and Fire Safety Report, which came out last week, is an annual report of various crimes and problems that have occurred on campus in the past year.
The report is conducted in colleges across the United States and is required to be reported to the campus community every year.
Chief Francisco Ortiz, who is the interim chief of campus police on Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith College campuses, spoke to The Sophian about this year’s report.
“The campus safety and security report is published annually by Smith College to comply with the Jeanne Clery Campus Safety and Security Act, established in 1990 after the rape and murder of Jeanne Clery, a student at Lehigh University,” Ortiz said.
According to the Clery Center, following her rape and murder in 1986, Jeanne Clery’s parents cited that the college did not properly disclose the campus safety issues on their daughter’s campus. The report is required of all institutions that receive federal student financial aid.
When asked whether there were any discernable patterns in the report of incidents on campus, Ortiz answered, “The statistics in the report provide useful information about the year just past, as well as over time. Although there are occasional one-year variations in certain categories, Smith’s reports do not currently suggest a pattern of change in any one category.”
Under the category of rape, five occurred in 2016, four of which occurred in residential facilities, holding steady from 2015’s numbers. This number does not account for those that have not yet been reported, as victims of sexual violence often take far longer to report than victims of other crimes.
For dating violence, there was quite a jump from 2015 to 2016, with one case in 2015 and five in 2016; stalking, however, held steady as well. Burglary has significantly decreased since 2014, in which 37 took place, to last year only six.
Smith College’s report includes details of crimes on campus as well as measures to take to ensure one’s safety.
Abigail Boyer, the associate executive director of programs at the Clery Center also spoke to The Sophian.
Boyer explained that the report, “reflects crime statistics for the previous three years as well as current policy statements in important areas such as sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking prevention and response and how the institution communicates about safety concerns, among many other areas.”
As it informs campus faculty and students each year, Boyer also said that, “the report reflects evolving policies, programs, and other resources. The most recent amendments to Clery were in 2013, so since then institutions have added quite a bit of information related to their policies for sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking prevention and response.”
Although the report is issued each year, the Clery Act is a continuously evolving report that strives to encompass developing safety issues on campus.
The Clery Center places specific importance on education of college students. As Boyer said the report can assist students through, “learn[ing] about what resources and options are available within the community and information related to various reporting options, including law enforcement and the institution’s disciplinary procedures.”
The Clery Center provides details on which information students should pay specific attention to when reading their college’s report. There is specific emphasis placed upon following the numbers cited in the report.
It also encourages students to advocate for themselves and know their rights when dealing with their safety, “The report includes both on- and off-campus resources, so this valuable information may be useful for students, employees and/or parents. There is also specific information on anonymous or confidential reporting options.”
While Chief Ortiz reassured The Sophian that there are not any harmful patterns that reveal larger issues on campus, the Clery Act has led to the discovery of systemic issues on other college campuses.
The Annual Jeanne Clery Fire and Safety Report for Smith is available to read online.