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Stanford's 2013 safety report offers tips on promoting campus safety as well as crime stats

"I continue to believe that Stanford is a safe place to live and work," said campus Police Chief Laura Wilson. "There are numerous recommendations in the annual Safety, Security & Fire Report, which, if followed, can help to reduce crime on campus."

L.A. Cicero bicyclist

Bike thefts on campus have increased over the past three years. The latest safety and security report recommends locking bikes with a U-lock through the frame and at least the front wheel.

Thieves stole 397 bicycles on campus last year, with more than half of them – 202 – disappearing from student residences, according to the Stanford University 2013 Safety, Security & Fire Report, which was released today.

Most of the report is devoted to promoting personal safety, protecting personal property and preventing crime. Four of its 91 pages present statistics from the last three calendar years on more than a dozen crimes, including burglaries, bike thefts, sexual assaults, and alcohol and drug violations. 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 assaults

Last year, 26 forcible sexual assaults were reported to campus police and to campus security authorities (such as residence deans), compared with 12 in 2011 and 21 in 2010, the report said.

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.

Laura Wilson, chief of police for the Stanford University Department of Public Safety, said there are many possible explanations for the increase in sexual assaults.

"I think the most plausible explanation is that the creation of the Office of Sexual Assault & Relationship Abuse Education & Response [SARA] and the increased training provided by that office, combined with increased media attention, has contributed to greater community awareness, which, in turn, contributed to increased numbers of reports," Wilson said.

"I do not believe there was an increase in the actual number of sexual assaults which occurred. Rather, there was an increase in the number of persons reporting sexual assaults."

The SARA office was established in June 2011.

The report said there were 19 incidents of domestic violence in 2012, compared with 4 in 2011 and 5 in 2010.

Wilson said she believes the increase in reports of domestic violence may also be attributed to the work done by the SARA office.

In 2012, there was one incident of stalking. There were none in 2011 and 2010.

Burglaries, robberies, aggravated assaults

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 – was 52, compared with 28 in 2011 and 81 in 2010.

The report said the number of building burglaries in 2012 – unlawful entry into a building or other structure with the intent to commit a felony or theft – was 102, compared with 101 in 2011 and 159 in 2010.

The report said there were no arson incidents on campus last year, compared with 5 in 2011 and 1 in 2010.

In 2012, there was 1 robbery on campus, compared with 2 robberies in 2011 and 2 in 2010.

Last year, there were 10 aggravated assaults on campus, compared with 2 in 2011 and 4 in 2010.

Bikes, vehicles and golf cart thefts

The 397 bike thefts reported in 2012 represent an increase over 2011, when there were 318, and 2010, when there were 326.

To help prevent bike thefts, the safety and security report recommends locking bikes with a high-quality U-lock through the frame and at least the front wheel, and never leaving a bike locked only to itself.

Last year, thieves stole 15 motor vehicles, including 7 cars and 8 golf carts, compared with 20 (4 cars and 16 golf carts) in 2011 and 14 (1 car and 13 golf carts) in 2010.

Alcohol and drug arrests

In 2012, police made 52 arrests for underage drinking and other violations of liquor laws, compared with 40 arrests in 2011 and 31 arrests in 2010. The numbers include arrests of students and non-students.

This year, for the second year in a row, Stanford's Office of Alcohol Policy and Education sent a letter to parents, advising them of the university's polices and programs, and encouraging them to have frank, face-to-face conversations with their children about alcohol before they arrived on campus.

In a recent Q&A, Ralph Castro, director of the Office of Alcohol Policy and Education, said research shows that students who have conversations with their parents or guardians tend to experience fewer alcohol-related issues.

Last year, Castro said, Stanford doubled the number of Cardinal Nights, which are alcohol-free social programs. The office offered nearly three alcohol-free social events per weekend, which attracted more than 25,000 students. Also, the office distributed its New Red Cup to promote safe drinking on campus. The red plastic cups are marked with black lines at the 1.5 oz., 5 oz. and 12 oz. levels to delineate the serving size for hard alcohol, wine and beer, respectively. The cup has a QR code, which leads to an app that calculates blood alcohol levels.

Hate crimes

The report said no hate crimes were reported in 2012, compared with 1 incident in 2011 and 2 incidents in 2010. A hate crime is defined as a crime in which a victim is intentionally selected because of the actual or perceived race, gender, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality or disability of the victim.

Community outreach for students, faculty and staff

"I continue to believe that Stanford is a safe place to live and work," said Wilson. There are numerous recommendations in the annual Safety, Security & Fire Report which, if followed, can help to reduce crime on campus."

The department's Community Outreach programs offer many ways for members of the Stanford community to reduce the opportunity for crime on campus:

  • Schedule a presentation designed to meet the unique needs of your individual group or department.
  • Meet the deputy liaison(s) assigned to your building or on-campus residence.
  • Schedule an active threat prevention and response presentation, a 90-minute talk covering case studies of past incidents, active shooter profiles, how to respond, and the police department's commitment to campus protection.
  • Subscribe to The Rap Sheet, the department's quarterly newsletter to learn more about the latest activities and safety tips.
  • Invite the department to your next fair or community gathering to hand out safety resources and answer questions.

During winter quarter, the department will offer its annual nine-week course, Community Police Academy, aimed at demystifying public safety, building trust and developing partnerships between the police department and the Stanford community.

Each session is designed to expand a participant's knowledge of the duties, responsibilities, decisions and constraints that law enforcement officers face. Topics include: search and seizure, threat assessment, alcohol laws, defensive tactics and use of force, and emergency communications.

In addition to the weekly class, participants are invited to field trips to the Medical Examiner–Coroner's Office, San Jose Main Jail and Police Academy driving simulators. Students are eligible for 1 unit of academic credit through the Law School. The class is open to university staff and faculty as well, at no charge. Apply at the Community Police Academy web page.

Getting copies of the 2013 Safety, Security & Fire Report

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.