Campus crime report shows rise in sexual assaults, car and building burglaries, and a drop in bike thefts and alcohol arrests in 2010

Most of Stanford's 2011 Safety, Security & Fire Report is devoted to promoting personal safety, protecting personal property and preventing crime. Four pages of the 78-page report present statistics on more than a dozen crimes, including burglaries, bike thefts, sexual assaults and alcohol arrests.

L.A. Cicero Laura Wilson portrait

'Community members can contribute to maintaining the safe environment by practicing a few simple preventative measures like reporting suspicious activity in a timely manner, locking doors and windows and not allowing people to 'piggyback' into locked buildings,' said Stanford Chief of Police Laura Wilson.

While the number of bikes stolen from campus dropped last year, Stanford's 2011 Safety, Security & Fire Report showed an increase in the number of forcible sexual assaults and car and building burglaries.

Laura Wilson, chief of police, said the Department of Public Safety (SUPD) believes the rise in the number of sexual assaults reflects an increase in the number of people reporting such crimes, rather than an increase in the actual number of forcible sexual offenses on campus.

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 the exact reason for the increased reporting is unknown.

"It could be attributed to outreach to the student community by the Stanford University Department of Public Safety and the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs regarding the importance of reporting sex crimes, or to the change in the way sexual misconduct cases were handled by the Office of Judicial Affairs under a pilot program launched last year, or a combination of both factors," Wilson said.

The report shows that last year 21 forcible sexual assaults were reported to campus police and to campus security authorities (such as residence deans), compared with 12 in 2009 and 10 in 2008. The 21 sexual assaults included 13 rapes, four fondlings and four "other" forcible offenses.

The 78-page report presents statistics for the last three calendar years on more than a dozen crimes, including bike thefts, 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.

Most of Stanford's 2011 Safety, Security & Fire Report is devoted to promoting personal safety, protecting personal property and preventing crime.

"Stanford continues to be a relatively safe place to live and work," Wilson said.

"Community members can contribute to maintaining the safe environment by practicing a few simple preventative measures like reporting suspicious activity in a timely manner, locking doors and windows and not allowing people to 'piggyback' into locked buildings."

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.

"If an emergency were to occur at this very moment, what would you do?" she wrote in the email. "Do you have a plan? Have you thought about how you would learn more about the emergency? How do you intend to communicate with friends and loved ones who are off-campus? Who on campus would you tell that you are safe?"

Property Crimes

Over the last three calendar years, the number of car burglaries – defined as the unlawful entry into a locked vehicle with the intent to commit a felony or a theft – has seesawed on campus.

In 2010, burglars broke into 81 vehicles (78 were parked on campus, two were parked near campus and one was parked on property controlled by Stanford), compared with 57 car burglaries in 2009 and 122 in 2008.

The report said the number of building burglaries – defined as the unlawful entry into a building or other structure with the intent to commit a felony or a theft  – rose last year to 180, compared with 151 in 2009 and 186 in 2008.

Wilson urged faculty, staff and students to continue practicing simple precautions – don't leave valuables on car seats, lock windows and doors when leaving a dorm, lab or office – to dissuade burglars from breaking into vehicles and buildings.

Bike, vehicle and golf cart thefts

The report said thieves stole 329 bicycles in 2010, compared with 375 in 2009 and 353 in 2008. Of the bikes stolen last year, 175 bicycles disappeared from student residences.

Last year, thieves stole 14 motor vehicles and golf carts, including 13 golf carts and one car, compared with 15 (10 golf carts and five cars) in 2009 and 38 (28 golf carts and 10 cars) in 2008.

Alcohol and drug arrests

In 2010, police made 31 arrests for underage drinking and other violations of liquor laws, compared with 113 arrests in 2009 and 62 arrests in 2008. The numbers include arrests of students and non-students.

William Larson, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety, attributed the drop to alcohol awareness programs on campus.

Last year, police arrested 27 people, including students and non-students, for violating drug laws, compared with 45 people in 2009 and 36 people in 2008.

Hate Crimes

The report said two hate-crime incidents were reported last year, compared with two incidents in 2009 and one incident in 2008.

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

In 2010, one hate-related threat on campus was characterized by racial bias and one hate-related vandalism in a student residence was characterized by racial bias.

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.