By Ben Mikek
At the beginning of October, the Department of Campus Safety released the Grinnell College’s annual reports on crime and fire safety at the school. The reports help the College comply with a federal mandate to report crime statistics, the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.
Often known simply as the Clery Act, it is named after Jeanne Clery, a Lehigh University student who was raped and murdered in her dorm room by another student in 1986. The Clery Center, an advocacy group set up by Clery’s parents following the murder, claims that the lack of campus crime reporting made them unaware of the potential danger to their daughter. To combat this problem, in response to lobbying efforts by Clery’s parents, Congress did eventually enact legislation to require colleges to report statistics about crimes committed on or within one mile of campus.
According to its website, the Clery Center “remains dedicated to guiding institutions of higher education to implement effective campus safety measures.”
At Grinnell, this report includes statistics from the main campus in Grinnell, but also the Conard Environmental Research Area and the Grinnell-in-London Campus. Neither the Conard area nor the London campus have seen any crimes during the last 3 years. On the main campus, however, modest numbers of crimes have been reported for all three years included in the report. In 2016, the report lists 5 cases of “sex offenses, rape;” 6 cases of “sex offense, fondling;” one burglary; and one case of arson. Additionally, 7 arrests and 8 disciplinary referrals occurred for “drug abuse violations,” and 14 arrests and 38 disciplinary referrals occurred for “liquor law violations.” There were also 4 reports of domestic violence, 6 reports of dating violence, and 5 reports of stalking. Most of these statistics are in line with 2014 information but mark a sharp decrease from 2015 numbers: “rape,” “fondling,” “aggravated assault,” and “motor vehicle theft” all saw significant declines over 2015.
In addition to these reported crimes, the college reported two cooking-related fires in residential facilities during 2016. This number is in line with 2015 totals, but a sharp decrease from 2014, when the college reported 14 fires in one calendar year.
In general, these statistics appear to be in line with statistics at other comparable institutions.
The task of compiling the report is carried out by the Department of Campus Safety, in coordination with other offices. Staff from Campus Safety were not able to comment on this story by press time.
“I’m appreciative of the herculean efforts within the Department of Campus Safety to comply with the Clery Act by submitting and publishing our Annual Security Report. This important document represents collaborations with a variety of different individuals and offices that contribute to our crime reporting and policy sections. We take this responsibility seriously,” wrote Andrea Conner, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, in an email to The S&B.
The Clery Act does provide another resource for students to evaluate their own well-being, and for prospective students to evaluate the safety of Grinnell’s Campus.