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Ohio State Campus sex offenses on the rise since 2010

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Forcible sex offenses on campus have more than doubled since 2010, while burglaries and robberies have dropped, according to Ohio State’s 2012 annual security and fire safety report.
Forcible sex offense reports rose to 28 cases in 2011, an increase from 21 documented cases in 2009 and 12 in 2010, according to the report. Forcible sex offenses are defined by the F.B.I. as rape and attempt, forcible fondling, forcible sodomy and sexual assault with an object.
The increase might be a result of more accurate reporting, said OSU Deputy Chief of Police Richard Morman.
“A few years ago, there was a big increase in the same category because some of the (university) counselors were not reporting that information to us,” Morman said. “If it happened on campus, we need to include it.”
In fact, Morman said he thinks 2010 was the unusual year.
“We weren’t sure that we were getting as many reported as we should be,” Morman said. “2011 seems more consistent.”
According to university police records, six sexual impositions have been reported in 2012, compared to 11 in 2011 and six in 2010. Ohio Law defines sexual imposition as sexual contact in which the offender knows it will upset the victim, the victim is unaware of the contact or unable to “control the offender,” the victim is between 13 and 16 years old and the offender is older than 18, or the offender is a mental health professional and convinces the victim the “contact is necessary for mental health treatment.”
Six reported cases of rape in 2012 have been documented in university police records, compared to six in 2011 and three in 2010.
There were also nine weapon law violations leading to arrests on campus, a rise compared to the three and two in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Drug law violations increased to 63 arrests in 2011 and 20 in 2010. Alcohol law violation arrests fell to 252 arrests in 2011 from 345 in 2010.
Burglary and robbery on campus fell in 2011, according to OSU’s 2012 annual security report. Robbery, theft accompanied by force or intimidation, fell from 11 cases in 2010 to seven in 2011, while burglary, a break-in with intent to commit a crime, dropped from 178 cases in 2009 and 147 cases in 2010, to 22 burglaries in 2011.
University Police was skeptical about the drop in burglaries, Morman said.
“(We double-checked) the burglary reports and theft reports to make sure we were titling them correctly,” Morman said.
Morman added he thinks the drop in burglaries was partly due to better education “because if you keep your property secure … that lessens (robbery and burglary), too.”
Several other categories of crimes, such as aggravated assault, arson and motor vehicle theft, also fell.
“I would like to attribute that to good police work,” Morman said.
Morman added that OSU as a whole is doing a better job of reporting crimes to public safety because the annual security report is not just based on police reports but on reports made anonymously by university employees such as coaches, campus security personnel and counselors.
University Police recently partnered with the Columbus Division of Police to allow University Police to act on crimes they witness off campus, which Morman said could increase future safety as well.
“I think time will tell. I think it’s a move in the right direction,” Morman said.
Lindsay Komlanc, an OSU Administration and Planning spokeswoman, stated in an email that the report acts as an educational tool for the university.
“We take crime prevention very seriously here at Ohio State, and we are always working to keep our students, faculty and staff safe. Educating students, faculty and staff that crime risks are real helps reinforce that there are actions they should take to significantly reduce these risks,” she said.
Some students said the report results are a step in the right direction but think there are some safety improvements that need to be made.
“It’s a good thing that the numbers that came out show that the crime has gone down, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Ohio State should lessen its forces because crime can happen at any time,” said Jessica Simmons, a fourth-year in chemistry.
Other students said they felt campus was getting safer.
“It’s good for the community that everything is safer,” said William Drees, a first-year in chemical engineering. “I think (University Police is) doing a good job.”

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