Security and crime report finds most violations in residence halls

Carolyn Pippin

Seven of the eight forcible sex offenses in 2013 came from violations within the residence halls, according to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act report for Kent State.

From 2011 to 2012, only two cases were reported for each year in the residence halls.

“Nationally, the sexual offenses are not typically getting reported as often as they are occurring,” said Michquel Penn, the community resource officer at the Kent State University Police Department.

Students now have access to more information about the Women’s Center and educational pieces about sexual assault and prevention, Penn said.

“I think more people are aware of the resources out there,” she said. “In turn, they are coming to us and reporting incidents, whereas in the past they weren’t as aware.”

In previous years, Penn said that no more than one incident was reported in a population of 40,000 students.

Because many Kent students live on campus, crimes are more likely to occur within the residence halls than in low population areas, Penn said.

“The calls are going to come from all different places, but students primarily spend most of their time in the residence halls because that’s where they live,” Penn said.

The report shows that arson incidents rose in residence halls from one incident in 2011, to 15 out of 16 total incidents in 2013.

“(The Clery Act) actually expanded its definition (of arson) to include other things having to do with fire,” Penn said.

Last year, someone in one of the residence hall complexes lit bulletin board paper on fire and then put the flames out.

“It was something where the RA found it or the RHD and reported it to us,” Penn said. “That’s why the number spiked that much.”

The rate of burglaries dropped from 17 reports in 2011 to five reports in 2013. In the residence halls, the rate fell from 11 to four, according to the report.

One reason behind the drop in statistics is due to the report decreasing parts of the verbiage used with the burglary definition, Penn said.

“In the past, let’s say I went to your dorm room and you had something missing and you told me that earlier in the day you had left your door open,” Penn said. “If someone went in and swiped something, we used to classify all of those thefts as burglaries.”

Now the definition of burglary means someone forcibly entered a room and took something.

The amount of arrests for liquor law violations fell from 356 arrests in 2011 down to 202 for 2013. According to the report, 131 of the violations in 2013 resulted from incidents within the residence halls.

“I think a lot of our calls, especially within the residence halls, come from the security aides,” Penn said. “Our security aides do a really good job as far as assisting us, and they do a lot of patrols within the halls themselves.”

Penn said there have been fewer calls in the last year about alcohol violations.

“Whether or not people are doing that off-campus, we just haven’t dealt with as many violations as we have in the past,” Penn said.

The full report includes the police and fire statistics for the last three years.

Contact Carolyn Pippin at [email protected].