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Reported aggravated assaults, drug violations rise on Ohio State’s campus

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Reported aggravated assaults and drug law violations both went up on Ohio State’s campus last year, according to OSU’s 2013 annual campus security and fire safety report.

Aggravated assault reports on campus rose to four in 2012, from zero in 2011 and five the year before. Two of the reports came from residence halls, and the other two were in other areas on campus.

Arrests for drug law violations in 2012 on campus were slightly up, with 67 arrests compared to 2011’s 63 arrests. Both numbers were up from 2010’s 50 drug law-related arrests on campus.

More than 20 drug-related arrests have been made on campus in 2013, according to the University Police daily log.

The report includes statistics of reported crimes on campus from 2012 compared with the previous two years.

OSU Administration and Planning spokeswoman Lindsay Komlanc said the important thing for students to realize about the report is how it defines “campus.”

Komlanc said though some might look at the report and be surprised by the numbers, because they might think some numbers are unusually low, it is because the report does not include the entirety of the university district surrounding campus.

“While this report is an important education tool because it does go through all the types of crime that are on campus, the most important thing to remember is that because it fulfills our requirement for the Clery Act, it covers very specifically defined places,” Komlanc said.

The report defines campus as buildings owned by OSU, including residence halls and classroom buildings, as well as university-owned fraternity and sorority houses and other campus buildings or areas.

The Clery Act, signed into law in 1990, was designed to make college campus crime information readily available. It was created in the name of Jeanne Clery, a student at Lehigh University who was raped and murdered in 1986 after crime warnings were not sent out after a series of thefts on campus. It is speculated that she would have been more cautious if she had known about the thefts, which in turn would have prevented her unrelated death.

Some of the statistics in 2012 went down or remained consistent with previous years, according to the report.

Arrests for alcohol violations on campus, more than 98 percent of which were not made in residence halls, were down to 172 in 2012, compared to 252 arrests made in 2011 and 345 in 2010. Robbery reports on campus in 2012 were also down, falling to two reports from seven the previous year.

Burglary reports were consistent with the previous year, remaining at 22 reported after 147 were reported in 2010, and motor vehicle theft was also consistent at eight thefts reported.

Last year, University Police Deputy Chief Richard Morman said he thought the decrease in reported burglaries was partly due to better education “because if you keep your property secure … that lessens (robbery and burglary), too.”

Reported hate crimes dropped to five in 2012 from seven in 2011. The five reports in 2012 were characterized by five different natures: race, sexual orientation, gender, religion and ethnicity/national orientation.

Morman said Thursday he wants students and parents alike to be aware of the annual report, because while it details all crimes reported on campus, it can be an important tool for incoming students, current students and their families.

“Some of (the crime statistics) go up and down, ours was not a very big variance between this year and last year, and I think (the crime statistics are) important if (parents and students) want to make an educated decision,” Morman said.

The report includes several emergency phone numbers that can be helpful to students in different situations, as well as detailed descriptions of different on-campus support centers available to students, including Sexual Violence Education and Support and University Hospitals.

Detailed in the report are OSU’s policies in various areas, including alcohol, drugs, hate crimes and sexual assault, as well as definitions for each type of reported crime, allowing the report to be a resource for classifying and reporting crimes.

“The whole report (is important),” Morman said, “but I guess just the knowledge that the policies are in there so you know they exist, and the crime statistics, and that’s why they do the past three years, so you can see crime trends.”

Kelsie Senuta, a fourth-year in environmental engineering, said the statistics don’t surprise her.

“(They’re) not really unfortunately (surprising),” she said. “(Campus is) just a small area, I mean, they might have gone down here (on campus), but a block away they’ve probably gone up, so it could just average out.”

She said students’ location might play into whether the report makes them feel safer.

“If I was just on campus, maybe I’d feel safer, but I live off-campus (on Fourth Street),” Senuta said.

Helen Bulford, a third-year in athletic training, said although she has never personally felt unsafe on campus, she was glad to see the drop in number of reported crimes in certain areas.

“I am pleased to see that some of the things like robbery went down. I’m pleased to see that sex offense went down, but I’d like to see it lower than that,” Bulford said.

Mark Blum, a first-year in mathematics, said one statistic that did surprise him was the number of reported robberies.

“Robbery, I guess I’ll give that one, was a bit surprising,” Blum said. “I’d expect that to be a bit higher on campus just because I guess I just don’t have much faith in humanity.”

Seeing the number of reported crimes fluctuate, but not disappear completely, did not come as a shock to him though.

“There’s always going to be crime,” Blum said. “You can’t have something that stops 100 percent of crime. I think it’s good that most of those numbers did go down. I think that’s definitely what we want to strive for. I haven’t heard of any big changes that might attribute to these numbers going down, I just think they wax and wane with time.”

Komlanc said the goal of the report is education, for “people to be able to understand, up-front what types of crime occur on and around campus.”

Brooke Sayre contributed to this story.

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