Oct 1, 2011
By George Mauzy
The Ohio University Police Department (OUPD) has released its 2010 campus crime statistics, and a few categories are notable.
The largest notable decrease since 2009 is in burglaries on Athens campus property, which decreased from 68 in 2009 to 34 in 2010. Those numbers include a decrease from 44 to 26 in burglaries reported in the residence halls during those same years.
Ohio University Police Chief Andrew Powers gave much of the credit in this decrease to education programs in Residential Housing, as well as other crime prevention tips passed on to the students throughout the year.
"People are keeping their doors locked and doing things that make it difficult for thieves to strike," Powers said.
Powers noted that forcible sex offenses increased from nine in 2009 to 15 in 2010, but he said it's hard to know if that's an increase in incidents or just those cases that are reported.
"It is probably the latter," Powers said. "The University has taken a lot of efforts through Lindsey Daniels and the Survivor Advocate Program to create a comfortable climate for survivors in terms of reporting and access to resources."
Powers said OUPD is teaming with the Athens Police Department to work on solutions to this problem. He said his department has consistently made people aware of these situations when they happen through crime alerts and have increased police patrol in those problem areas.
Powers said Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis and Athens City Mayor Paul Wiehl have recently created a Joint Police Advisory Council that will look to address community-wide safety issues. He said the formation of the council, which will have cross representation from the University and community, could be completed before the end of October.
"The council's goal is to synchronize our police departments' efforts and maximize our resources to serve the community's needs," Powers said.
The biggest negative increase in this year's statistics came in drug law arrests on the Athens campus, which increased from 56 in 2009 to 131 in 2010. Chief Powers said the increase is misleading, because it is primarily the result of a shift in policy. He said OUPD stopped doing referrals for drug violations as it did in the past.
In 2009, OUPD referred 38 cases to University Judiciaries, but it did not record any last year.
Powers said this shift was a result of OUPD not wanting to take on the administrative duties of doing referrals and deciding to switch to police department best practices.
"We were running the risk of violating peoples' rights if we weren't careful when we started swaying into the administrative arena," Powers said. "Now we respond to calls and determine if there is a criminal violation to act on. If there isn't, we warn the person or leave it to Residential Housing to make the referral."
Powers said it's very difficult to draw conclusions from statistics and numbers on a piece of paper.
"The crime statistics remind us that we are a cross section of society and we have the same problems here that exist in other colleges in the state and across the country," Powers said. "Crime prevention and personal safety should still be on the minds of our community even though crime at Ohio University compares favorably to other universities. The bottom line is individuals should always take measures to protect themselves, because we can't be everywhere at once."
The latest crime statistics report covers three years, 2008 to 2010, and satisfies the requirements of the Clery Act, a federal law requiring all federally supported college campuses to report their latest crime statistics to the U.S. Department of Education and the public by Oct. 1 each year. The report includes statistics from Ohio University's five regional campuses and two regional centers, which annually have few reported crimes.