Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Saturday, November 18, 2017

Public Safety report: Six hate crimes reported at AU in 2016

Report also showed high number of liquor-related offenses

Public Safety report: Six hate crimes reported at AU in 2016

Six hate crimes were reported at AU in 2016, according to Public Safety's annual security report.

American University's Public Safety department released their annual security report in late September, encompassing all criminal activity at the University in 2016. Each year, the report gives rare insight into crime trends on campus as well as how AU handles those incidents.

For those who don’t have time to flip through all 254 pages, here are some key takeaways from the report, ranging from alcohol violations to the frequency of hate crimes on campus.

Six hate crimes recorded in 2016

The report recorded six hate crimes, all of which took place on AU’s main campus. Public Safety defines a hate crime as “a criminal offense that manifests evidence that the victim was intentionally selected because of the perpetrator’s bias against the victim.”

Of the six hate crimes reported in 2016, three were vandalism offenses: two characterized by racial bias, and one characterized by religious bias. In addition, Public Safety recorded one simple assault offense related to racial bias, an intimidation offense related to ethnicity bias and a burglary offense related to gender bias. 

The number of hate crimes doubled from 2015, when three were reported. In 2014, Public Safety also reported six hate crimes, all of which were vandalism or intimidation offenses.

Compared to D.C. area universities, AU has a slightly higher number of hate crimes. Georgetown reported four hate crimes in 2016, and George Washington reported five, all of which were intimidation or vandalism offenses.

In September 2016, a black female freshman living in Anderson Hall reported that white male students had thrown a banana at her. Another black student reported that a rotten banana was placed outside of her room and found obscenities written on her whiteboard. The report does not cover hate crimes such as the hanging of bananas in nooses in May and or the posting of Confederate flag posters in September because those happened in 2017. 

AU reports more liquor-related offenses than GW, Georgetown

The report releases statistics on the number of criminal offenses committed and arrests made in 2016. These criminal offenses are broken down into 11 categories, including sex offenses, aggravated assault, burglary, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and hate crime offenses, among others. 

Liquor-related offenses showed the highest number of reports across any other category, and the number has been increasing: in 2016, 521 judicial referrals were made for liquor violations, all of which were made in on-campus residential halls. That’s an increase over 2014, when 389 liquor law violations were recorded, and 2015, when 497 were recorded.

Compared to other D.C. universities, such as George Washington and Georgetown, AU has a much higher total of liquor law violations issued by school police. GW reported 174 liquor law violations on campus in 2016, and Georgetown reported 289 liquor violations on campus property. AU's total is more than GW and Georgetown combined. 

Rise in burglaries, aggravated assaults

For reported criminal offenses that were committed on or near main campus, the categories that saw a rise in the number of occurrences, compared to 2015, were aggravated assault, burglary, dating violence, stalking and hate crime offenses.

Burglary reports on campus increased from 9 in 2015 to 13 in 2016, while incidences taking place in campus residential facilities grew from four in 2015 to seven in 2016.

Crimes related to stalking in residential facilities grew from 10 in 2015 to 14 in 2016, and public property incidents increased from zero in 2015 to one in 2016, while incidents occurring on campus decreased from 22 in 2015 to 17 in 2016.

Dating violence saw a slight increase as well. The number of on campus dating violence incidents grew from two in 2015 to three in 2016, with incidents occurring on public property near campus increasing from zero in 2015 to one in 2016. The number fell for incidents happening in on campus residential facilities going from two in 2015 to one in 2016.

Reported sex offenses remain consistent year over year

Reports of sex offenses committed on campus has been consistent year over year, according to the security report. In 2016, 15 offenses of rape were reported to Public Safety, as well as four reports of forcible fondling.

Compare that to 2015, when 18 reports of rape and five reports of forcible fondling were made to AU police. In 2014, a total of 21 sex offenses were reported to Public Safety. Most of the offenses were reported in on-campus residential facilities.

But, AU has seen a decrease in some areas of campus crime. The number of arson offenses has decreased from 2014, when four reports were made to Public Safety. Only one was reported in 2015 and 2016.

Criminal offense categories that either did not see an increase, decreased or remained constant include robbery, motor vehicle theft, arson and domestic violence. Domestic violence offenses have decreased from six on campus and six in residence halls in 2014, dropping to four cases on campus in both 2015 and 2016 and four cases in 2015 and one case in 2016 in campus residence halls.

bfoster@theeagleonline.com


Never miss a story.

Get our weekly newsletter in your inbox.