According to the University’s Department of Public Safety Annual Report, there has been a sharp increase in crimes of rape and theft on campus between 2015 and 2016.
The stated the number of reported rapes on campus has doubled in a year, from six in 2015 to 12 in 2016. The number of reported robberies has also increased, according to the report. Whereas in 2015 there were no acts of robbery reported on campus, there were five reported robberies in 2016. Burglary has also increased from 24 burglaries in 2015 to 33 in 2016. The Department of Public Safety’s distinction between robbery and burglary, as noted in the report, is that burglary involves some kind of unlawful entry to commit felony or theft, while robbery is an individual’s attempt to take anything that does not belong to him or her.
The DPS report is mandated by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, which colleges and universities receiving federal funding to annually publish statistics on crime at and around their campuses.
The DPS report highlights the reality that not all reported crimes result in charges. Indeed, the statistics given by DPS are numbers of reported crimes, not charges themselves. For example, spokeswoman for the Mercer County prosecutor’s office Casey DeBlasio told Central Jersey that to her knowledge, no one was charged for rape occurring at the University in 2016. This statistic stands in clear contrast to the six reported rapes denoted in the 2016 report.
The report states that the statistics outlined in the University’s DPS report are the ones collected from public safety officers’ reports of a crime, which are inputted at the time of the incidents in the department’s integrated record management system. After a report is made and put into the system, a department administrator reviews the report to check for correct classification of the crime. The department periodically examines the data to ensure all reported crimes are recorded in accordance with the crime definitions outlined in the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting and, for sex offenses, the FBI National Incident-Based Reporting System Handbook, the report further stated.
The report also noted that Public Safety crime statistics do not include reports of sexual assault, harassment, or reports made through confidential resources such as the Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources, and Education office. The primary reason for this is that these reports cannot be investigated by campus police or University officials unless confidential counselors are given permission to share details that would personally identify the victim.
has also experienced an increase in reported rapes, from 17 in 2015 to 24 in 2016, but has experienced drastic decreases in burglary and theft. reported rapes have decreased, but remain substantially higher than the other two universities, with 34 reported in 2015 and 27 reported in 2016. Harvard also had no robberies reported in 2016, decreasing from only one in 2015, but burglary took a massive leap from 43 in 2015 to 70 in 2016.
In response to these statistics, the University’s resolve to prevent crimes of this sort is stronger than ever. “The only acceptable number of rapes on a college campus is zero,” wrote President Eisgruber in a 2015 in the Princeton Alumni Weekly.
The Department of Public Safety declined request for comment. The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office did not respond to request for comment.