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Stanford's 2012 safety report offers valuable tips on emergency preparation, as well as crime stats

Most of Stanford's2012 Safety, Security & Fire Report is devoted to promoting personal safety, protecting personal property and preventing crime. Four pages of the 87-page report present statistics on more than a dozen crimes, including burglaries, bike thefts, sexual assaults and alcohol arrests.

L.A. Cicero Public Safety Officer Pedro Campos and Community Service Officer Randolph Jamal patrol Lasuen Mall on Diggler mountain scooters,

Public Safety Officer Pedro Campos and Community Service Officer Randolph Jamal patrol Lasuen Mall on Diggler mountain scooters, one of several modes of transportation that officers use for pedestrian and bike safety patrols.

Thieves made off with 318 bicycles parked on campus last year and burglars broke into 28 cars, according to the Stanford University 2012 Safety, Security & Fire Report.

Those are just two of the facts found in the 87-page report, which presents statistics for the last three calendar years on more than a dozen categories of crimes, including burglaries, forcible and non-forcible sexual assaults, stalking and violations of alcohol, drug and weapons laws. It also contains information on hate crimes and campus fires.

The report provides statistics for those crimes specified by the federal law known as the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act.

Sexual assault still an underreported crime

"Of all the crimes statistics we report, the one which tends to generate the most interest is sexual assault," said Laura Wilson, chief of police for the Stanford University Department of Public Safety. The report can be found online on the department's website.

The report shows that last year 12 forcible sexual assaults were reported to campus police and to campus security authorities (such as residence deans), compared with 21 in 2011 and 12 in 2010.

A forcible sexual assault is defined as any sexual act directed against another person, forcibly or against that person's will, including forcible rape, forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object and forcible fondling.

Wilson said she believes sexual assault continues to be an under-reported crime.

"Sexual assault is a complex issue both on an individual as well as a societal level," she said. "I understand the reasons why victims of sexual assault, especially victims of acquaintance assault, are often unwilling to report these crimes.

"Yet, if people do not come forward so that those who commit these crimes may be held accountable for their actions, I have to question whether we, as a society, will ever really make in impact of reducing the incidence of sexual assault."

Unfortunately, Wilson said, the criminal justice system does not have a strong track record for holding alleged perpetrators accountable for their actions – especially in cases of alcohol-facilitated sexual assault, which is the form of assault that happens most frequently on campus.

"Thus, I can appreciate why an individual person would be reluctant to come forward," she said. "That said, we try to provide individuals who have been assaulted with a variety of resources to help them address the assault in a way that meets their needs at the time, even if that does not include reporting the matter to the police."

The report contains nearly a dozen pages of information on sexual assault, including a two-page chart with names, websites and phone numbers of the dozen resources available on campus, including the Office of Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse Education and Response, Counseling and Psychological Services at Vaden Health Center, the Office for Religious Life, residence deans and the Graduate Life Office.

Most of Stanford's 2012 Safety, Security & Fire Report is devoted to promoting personal safety, protecting personal property and preventing crime.

The report shows photos of Stanford's deputy sheriffs at work. One photo shows a pair of deputies on bike patrol and another of a deputy visiting a kindergarten with Red, the department's black Labrador retriever. Another photo shows a public service officer in a lime-green vest and with a whistle directing traffic.

"I still consider Stanford to be a safe place to live and work," Wilson said. "We have very few crimes against persons. That said, people still need to use common sense and take reasonable safety precautions both for their personal safety and the safety of their property."

Are you ready for an emergency?

In an email delivered to the Stanford community this week, Wilson urged faculty, staff and students to read the report, which is filled with valuable information about personal safety practices, evacuation and emergency notification procedures, crime prevention programs, fire safety and other policies. She asked everyone to consider:

  • If an emergency were to occur at this very moment, what would you do? Have you thought about how you would learn more about the emergency?
  • Wondering if you should be concerned about a colleague's recent emotional outburst? With whom would you consult?
  • What would you do if you felt your safety was compromised? What campus and local resources would you turn to for assistance and support?

"As a member of the Stanford community, you play an important role ensuring safety," she wrote. "By reviewing the safety information contained in the annual report and following a few simple safety practices, you can contribute to keeping Stanford a safe place to live, learn and work."

Property crimes

Last year, the number of car burglaries – defined as the unlawful entry into a locked vehicle with the intent to commit a felony or a theft – fell to 28, compared with 81 in 2010 and 57 in 2009. Burglars broke into 27 cars parked on campus and one parked near campus in 2011.

"Generally, we get someone or a group of people 'working' campus," she said. "We did make a couple of arrests this past year, and it is possible that some of the persons whom we arrested would have continued to come back to campus and steal had we not stopped them."

The report said the number of building burglaries – defined as unlawful entry into a building or other structure with the intent to commit a felony or theft – dropped to 101, compared with 180 in 2010 and 151 in 2009.

Wilson said the drop in burglaries may be attributable to a change in the way in which burglaries are defined by the Uniform Crime Report (UCR), which defines how to classify crimes.

"Based upon the UCR guidance, some crimes which we would have previously classified as burglaries are now considered thefts," according to Wilson.

The report includes common-sense "lock it or lose it" advice:

  • Lock your doors anytime you leave your office or residence.
  • Never prop open a locked door.
  • Don't let someone unknown to you enter a locked building behind you.
  • Report broken or malfunctioning locks to the building manager.
  • Hide laptops in a closet or drawer and secure to a fixed object with a cable lock.
  • Secure bicycles to a rack with a U-lock.

Bikes, vehicle and golf cart thefts

The report said thieves stole 318 bicycles on campus in 2011, compared with 326 in 2010 and 375 in 2009. Last year, 148 bicycles disappeared from student residences – nearly half of the total that went missing on campus.

Last year, thieves stole 20 motor vehicles, including 16 golf carts and 4 cars, compared with 14 (13 golf carts and 1 car) in 2011, and 15 (10 golf carts and 5 cars) in 2010.

Alcohol and drug arrests

In 2011, police made 40 arrests for underage drinking and other violations of liquor laws, compared with 31 in 2010 and 113 in 2009. The numbers include arrests of students and non-students.

Wilson said Stanford's deputies try to focus their efforts on addressing high-risk behavior rather than issuing a lot of citations.

"That doesn't mean they won't cite people whom they see violating the law, but that isn't their first priority," she said. "They have been told to focus their energy and attention on overall safety."

Last year, the university implemented a new Student Alcohol Policy, and opened the Office of Alcohol Policy and Education, which is located in Rogers House and headed by Ralph Castro, associate dean of student affairs. Castro sat down for a Q&A with Stanford Report last year.

Last year, police arrested 20 people, including students and non-students, for violating drug laws, compared with 29 people in 2010 and 48 people in 2009.

Hate crimes

The report said one hate crime incident (simple assault categorized by religious bias) was reported in 2011, compared with two incidents in 2010 and two incidents in 2009.

A hate crime is defined as a crime in which a victim is intentionally selected because of the actual or perceived race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disability of the victim.

The report is available online. Printed versions may be obtained by phone, (650) 723-9633; by email, publicsafety@lists.stanford.edu; or by mail, Attn: Crime Statistics, Stanford Department of Public Safety, 711 Serra St., Stanford, CA 94305-7240.