Campus Safety Report reveals crime decrease

The 2011 Annual Campus Security & Fire Safety Report was recently released by the Department of Public Safety & Security and showed a significant decrease in reported crimes.

According to Vice President for Student Affairs, Laura Wankel, numbers have declined in past years.

“Our crime statistics have steadily declined for 10 years running,” Wankel said. “We attribute this to several factors including professionalization of our public safety organization, collaboration with students, staff and faculty to but in to our crime prevention efforts, an upgraded security infrastructure, close collaboration with SOPD and a robust community development process.”

While the report does not include the alleged sexual assault from last fall, it does show that there have been seven forcible sex offenses, and 21 burglaries, both on campus and in “non campus buildings,” and “public property.”

As stated in the report, in the years 2008, 2009 and 2010, there were no murder/non-negligent manslaughter cases, as well as no negligent manslaughter cases on the main campus, “non campus buildings” and “public property.”

Despite the report having stated that there were no reported cases, in September 2010, sophomore Jessica Moore died in an off-campus shooting incident.

Vice President for Student Affairs, Laura Wankel, said that according to specific department of education guidelines, the incident did not have to be included in the numbers.

“The incident involving Jessica Moore is considered an off-campus incident and is non-reportable for the Clery report,” Wankel said.

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Safety & Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act requires all colleges and universities to collect and disclose information about crime on and around campus property, according the Department of Public Safety and Security website.

According to Wankel, the alleged sexual assault did not have to be included.

“Guidelines state that only police can rule an incident as unfounded as was the case in this incident,” Wankel said. “This reported sexual assault was not included in our numbers for that reason.”

All students can access the report through the Seton Hall Website, or through the broadcast email that was recently sent out by Student Affairs .

According to Wankel, statistics for the report are gathered from several places.

“Statistics are gathered from PS&S, and local law enforcement agencies including SOPD, Newark PD and the Essex County Sheriff’s Department,” Wankel said. “Additionally, we gather information from campus security authorities as well.”

According to Wankel, for the student body, “knowledge is power.”

“This information is provided as part of the University’s compliance with the Campus Security Act, more commonly referred to as the Clery Act,” Wankel said. “It is important that members of our community have access to information from which they can make personal decision about their own safety.”

Wankel said that it is important to inform the community of different campus resources.

“It’s important to have information about things like Pirate Alert, available campus services and emergency contact information provided in one easily accessible place.” Wankel said.

According to Wankel, the safety of the Seton Hall community is a high priority.

“The University is constantly reviewing and modifying its efforts to provide a safe and secure environment,” Wankel said. “It is important for all of us to take responsibility for our own safety and to make decisions in support of maintaining that safety.”

Ashley Duvall can be reached

Author: Staff Writer

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