The College’s Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report for 2013 was published on Monday, Sept. 29, with the number of various crimes committed on school grounds rising in the 2013-14 academic school year.
In compliance with the Clery Act — which is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education — the College, along with all other colleges which receive financial aid, must disclose information about crime on and surrounding the campus.
This year showed an overall increase in certain crimes compared to past safety reports. Compared to 2012, for example, there was a drastic rise in arrests for burglaries from four to 12, something school officials say is a false representation of the crimes actually committed.
“There was a burglary in a college-owned, off-campus house that had six rooms from which items were stolen,” said David Muha, vice president of Communications, Marketing and Brand Management. “In uniform crime reporting, this would have been one incident, but Clery requires us to report this as six incidents. This makes it seem like there was a big jump in burglaries, but the data is misleading in this instance.”
Added to the report this year were dating violence and stalking, which recorded three and one offenses, respectively. According to Muha, the inclusion of these two categories were set by the government and the College followed the new regulations as required.
In one of the more notable spikes in crime, the report noted 108 instances in violation of the liquor law in 2013 compared to just 87 in 2012. Though listed as “arrests” in the report, Muha noted that not everyone was in fact arrested.
“The majority were citations, not actual arrests,” he said.
Highlighting Homecoming as a cause for the increase, Muha said that the changes this year aim to curb underage drinking.
“The changes that were made to the event this year to limit the amount of alcohol that can be brought in, and the agreement with Student Government, the Inter Greek Council and the Club Sports Advisory Council, is all aimed at curbing underage drinking,” Muha said.
After the recent debate over whether to have a separated Homecoming for those over 21, the College hopes fewer students will be found in violation of the law with the new precautions in place.
Also included in the report was a rise in the amount of sex offenses from one to four, one reported aggravated assault and a decrease in the number of those arrested for drug violations from 13 to five.
“It is the policy of TCNJ to ensure our campus community is informed of all incidents that may impact their safety and security,” reads the report.
Last year, there was only one reported fire on campus in Travers Hall. According to Muha however, no official determination was made as to the cause of the fire.
It is rumored by many that a student threw something which caught fire in their room out a window, further spreading the fire. Damages amounted to $19,281.11, with the College paying for the repairs because insurance “did not cover the loss as the property insurance deductible was not met,” Muha said.
The 2013 Security and Fire Safety Report, as well as reports from previous years, can be found online through the College’s website or at the Information Desk in the Brower Student Center.