Oct. 5, 2007
By Eva Simeone and George Mauzy
Ohio University's Athens campus experienced a drop in crime statistics during the 2006 calendar year, according to the Ohio University Police Department's recently filed 2007 Clery Act Compliance Report.
The federal Clery Act requires all college campuses to report their crime statistics to the Department of Education and the public by Oct. 1 each year. The report must include a campus' last three years of crime statistics in areas such as sexual assault, burglary, theft, murder, illegal weapons and alcohol and drug-related charges. The summary includes statistics from Ohio University's five regional campuses and two regional centers, which had minimal reported crimes.
A sharp decline was seen in the number of alcohol violation referrals on campus. In 2006, there were 1,040 alcohol violation referrals, down from 1,257 the previous year. Of those, the sharpest decline was in referrals to non-OUPD personnel (such as Student Affairs, University Judiciaries, Residence Life and Athletics staff members), which dropped from 1,134 to 899.
Drug referrals remained nearly constant from 2005 to 2006. While the total number of drug referrals increased from 235 to 237, referrals to non-OUPD personnel decreased by 33 and the referrals to the OUPD increased by 35.
Reported burglaries on campus dropped from 57 in 2005 to 37 in 2006, with the sharpest drop coming in non-residence hall buildings (from 24 to five).
Reports of rape on campus declined from 14 in 2005 to three in 2006. Of those, reports to the OUPD of forcible rape in residence halls fell from four to one, while such reports to non-OUPD personnel dropped from one to zero.
OUPD Police Chief Mike Martinsen said he is encouraged by the statistics, but he cautions against reading too much into them.
"Law enforcement must be careful not to overreact to crime statistics when they are favorable because crime statistics fluctuate for a variety of reasons beyond our control, Martinsen said. "However, we are encouraged by a number of decreases in major crime categories.
"Campus leaders such as Kent Smith, Judy Piercy and Patti McSteen from Student Affairs and David Hopka and Jill Harris from Safety and Risk Management have all played a large role in our ability to maintain a safe campus environment," the chief said. "The ongoing support of our students and administration are essential if we are to succeed in our mission to improve safety services on campus at all levels."
To view the 2007 Clery Act Compliance Report, visit the OUPD Web site at www.ohiou.edu/police and click on the "campus right to know" link.