Crime declines on campus overall but forcible sex offenses increase slightly| Oct 1, 2013
The number of criminal offenses reported on campus decreased for the fifth consecutive year to 44 cases in the 2012 calendar year, according to the University’s 2013Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, released by the Department of Public Safety last week.
While the number of crimes reported on campus are down overall, the number of forcible sex offenses increased slightly to 17 cases, continuing an upward trend that has been consistent since 2009, when 11 cases were reported.
The crime levels are the lowest in at least a dozen years, according to aggregate data maintained by The Daily Princetonian.
The University releases its annual Crime Report in compliance with the federal Clery Act, which regulates the reporting of crime on college campuses. As part of the Clery Act, the University is also required to maintain a daily crime log.
The number of burglaries reported on campus decreased slightly from 30 to 27 cases between 2011 and 2012. However, the number of burglaries reported in dormitory buildings, a subset of the overall figure, increased from 12 to 17 cases.
“What we see when we look at theft on campus overall, it’s mostly theft of unattended or unsecured property,” Associate Director of Public Safety Duncan Harrison, Sr. said.
The number of arrests for drug law violations increased from four to seven, although these figures refer to the number of arrests and not to the number of incidents, according to Executive Director of Public Safety Paul Ominsky.
He noted that the seven arrests in 2012 were in response to a single incident.
The number of judicial referrals for both liquor law and drug abuse violations also decreased between 2011 and 2012. Judicial referrals are not investigated criminally by DPS and are instead handled by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students.
The drop in the number of referrals for liquor law violations reported in dormitory buildings was particularly sharp, decreasing from 29 cases in 2011 to only nine cases in 2012.
Ominsky said this decrease was not the result of any policy change.
The only case of illegal weapons possession reported in 2012 involved an alleged knifepoint robbery on Roper Lane, in between Cottage Club and Cap & Gown Club.
There was only one fire reported in 2012, down from three cases in 2011 and nine cases in 2010. The fire occurred in one of the Spelman Halls and was caused by a microwave oven, according to the report.
“These are actual fires that are taking place in a dormitory, so we always have very low numbers, and this year we only have one,” Harrison explained. “The other ones are just fire alarms that are caused by cooking and that sort of thing.”
He noted that the Clery Act does not require the University to record fire alarm incidences.
There were no cases of arson, motor vehicle theft, aggravated assault, non-forcible sex offenses, negligent manslaughter or murder reported on campus in 2012. There were no criminal offenses reported on the University’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro Township, N.J.
“I think we have here a safe campus,” Ominsky said, when asked about the evolution of campus safety over the years. “I am hesitant to make comparisons from year to year [...] because things are always changing.”
Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the year of the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report referenced in this article. It was the 2013 report. The 'Prince' regrets the error.