Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Thursday, May 24, 2018

Annual Security Report finds rise in aggravated assault

Report details crimes from on and around campus in the last year

AU saw a sharp rise in the number of aggravated assaults on and near campus in the past year, according to the University’s Annual Security Report released on Oct. 1.

There were nine reported cases of aggravated assault on campus in 2013, up from zero in 2012.

The University does not see this specific spike in assaults as a growing trend, according to Associate Director of Public Relations Kelly Alexander.

“It is difficult to pinpoint an exact cause of the increase other than the isolated behavior of a few individuals,” Alexander said in an email.

According to Alexander a majority of assaults occurred on campus, but outside of the residential halls.

Aggravated assault is defined as an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury, according to the report. Any student who is reported to have committed an aggravated assault is disciplined by AU Student Conduct as well as the Metropolitan Police Department.

The report, which is released at the beginning of October every year, provides information about all crimes on and around campus. It includes information compiled by AU Public Safety and the Metropolitan Police Department, as well as several departments within the University.

Every publicly funded university in the country must produce an annual security report to comply with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. Signed in 1990, the Clery Act requires all universities to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses. The act is named for Jeanne Clery, a Lehigh University student who was raped and murdered in her dorm room in 1986.

However, the report does not include information about where on campus any crimes occurred. While the report does differentiate between “on campus” and a “residential facility,” it does not specify beyond those larger categories for on campus crimes. It does include categories for “non-campus building or property” and “public property.”

Alcohol and Drug Violations

The number of alcohol violations dropped in 2013 to 564 from 660 total on campus violations in 2012, according to the report.

Despite this decrease, on campus drug violations increased for the third year in a row. Between on campus buildings and residence halls there were 99 violations in 2012, while there were 115 violations in 2013, according to the report.

The University declined to comment on what might have attributed to this increase.

Sexual Assault

Reported on campus sexual assaults remained relatively the same from 2012 to 2013, with eight assaults in 2013.

Like many other universities across the country, AU has been working to combat these numbers through the introduction of programs such as Step Up!, The Eagle previously reported.

The University also works to provide students with a variety of resources to help prevent sexual assault, according to Alexander. These include Rape Aggression Defense System classes, the Dating Violence Program to educate individuals on date and acquaintance rape and safe transportation services such as AU’s escort service and Safe Ride Back to Campus.

For those that have been victims of a sexual assault, Alexander said that the University offers support and other resources.

“[Public Safety] works collaboratively with the Dean of Students and Campus Life to foster effective approaches to responding to sexual assaults involving members of the AU community both on and off campus,” Alexander said in an email.

Burglaries and Arson

The number of on-campus burglaries dropped for the third year in a row, from 37 on campus and in residential halls in 2012 to 24 in 2013, according to the report.

In contrast, the number of arsons rose in the last year. In 2013, there were seven on campus arsons, up from four in 2012.

Alexander confirmed that the majority of arsons occurred on campus but outside of residence halls.

news@theeagleonline.com


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