Alcohol violations spike after new patrol policy
The 30-page campus safety report provides data on crime statistics on the University’s main and Forrestal campuses from 2005 to 2007 and details preventive measures. The report indicates that there were no criminal incidents on the Forrestal campus during this time. There were no hate crimes or homicides reported to Public Safety on either campus.
“I would say that we’re an absolutely safe campus,” Director of Public Safety Steven Healy said. “When you look at the stats, you see that they’re relatively flat … the change from year to year is statistically insignificant.”
When asked about the number of burglaries on campus, which increased from 37 in 2006 to 57 last year, Healy noted the non-violent nature of many of the crimes on campus.
“Most of our burglaries are non-forcible burglaries. It’s not like people are kicking doors in and breaking windows. In fact, forcible burglaries have gone down,” Healy said.
He also pointed out that Public Safety’s crime classification system is different from those of other schools.
“We have a strict adherence to the letter of the law. We are very conservative in our classification of crimes … We tend to classify in the higher category,” Healy said.
Increase in reported sexual offenses
Reported forcible sexual offenses — which include rape, forcible sodomy, forcible fondling and sexual assault with an object — increased from five incidents in 2005 and 12 in 2006 to 14 in 2007.
Though Healy described the increase in sexual offenses as “relatively flat,” he acknowledged that 70 to 80 percent of such incidents are never reported.
“Some years, more people come forth, some fewer,” Healy said. “Any time we see a spike, that would mean more people come forth to the [Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources and Education Office (SHARE)]. Most of those incidents are not reported directly to us.”
In an interview with The Daily Princetonian in November 2006, SHARE director Suraiya Baluch said that she sees an estimated 100 sexual assault cases a year at Princeton.
Baluch said in an interview this week that the number of sexual assaults in this year’s report comes from aggregate numbers collected by SHARE that meet the Clery Act criteria used by Public Safety.
The Clery Act, also known as the Federal Campus Security Act, provides guidelines for reporting crimes to the federal government. Criteria include the time of year, type of offense and location. Sexual harassment and stalking do not currently meet the criteria for reporting.
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students Hilary Herbold GS ’97 attributed the increase in sexual offenses reported to greater outreach and awareness.
“It is difficult to say for certain what factors account for the increase in reports of sexual offenses,” Herbold said in an e-mail. “My strong hunch, though, is that the excellent work SHARE has been doing for the past few years is a major factor.”
In addition, Herbold pointed out the impact of reports released in 2005 regarding sexual offenses, which led to the formation of SpeakOut and the establishment of SHARE training for eating club officers and members.
Baluch similarly emphasized the positive impact of new initiatives on campus.
Campaigns like the SHARE Peer Advisors’ Princeton True Stories and SpeakOut’s bathroom signs have led to “increased utilization of services, thereby increasing the reports of sexual assault and relationship violence we have on campus,” she said in an e-mail.
SpeakOut president Lady Adjepong ’09 said in an e-mail that the “increase in reports is an opportunity for us to step up our efforts to bring more awareness to and educate people on the issues surrounding sexual offenses.”
Adjepong suggested that sexual violence on campus could be traced to “sexism and rigid gender norms.”
“In order to help create a safer campus,” she said, “we must question the grounds on which we allow ourselves to hold events like ‘CEOs & Office Hos’ and consider the damaging effects of such activities which manifest themselves in acts of sexual violence.”
Increase in incidence of liquor-law violations
The number of incidents involving liquor-law violations spiked from 20 in 2006 to 120 in 2007. Reported drug-abuse violations increased from 12 in 2005 and 22 in 2006 to 32 in 2007.
These judicial referrals are reported internally to the University and are not legal criminal referrals.
In a footnote to the Annual Security Report, Healy explained that the increase in incidents reported in the 2007 calendar year for liquor-law violations is largely a result of the University’s implementation of a number of initiatives to address high-risk drinking, including Residential Hall Patrol (RHP) by Public Safety and closer monitoring of residential facilities.
Herbold, a member of the Alcohol Coalition Committee, said the rise in the number of incidents might be due to the presence of RHPs, but not to the new guidelines announced last fall requiring RCAs to break up parties and report intoxicated students.
“The guidelines for RCAs went into effect this fall, so that could not account for the increase in alcohol violations last year,” Herbold said.
USG president Josh Weinstein ’09 questioned the role of Public Safety’s patrolling and expressed concern about the increase in violations reported.
“The RHPs render the new [RCA] policy useless as Public Safety has been taking action well before a situation has become dangerous at all, and has instead rendered throwing a party in a dorm a punishable offense,” he said in an e-mail.
The new RCA policy, he explained, was “designed to reduce the presence of Public Safety by ensuring the RCAs take responsibility for ensuring nothing gets out of hand or dangerous.”
Weinstein added that the RHPs might be detrimental to the relationship between Public Safety officers and students.
— Princetonian staff writers Paige Kestenman and Paolo Esquivel contributed reporting to this article.