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Stanford Department of Public Safety releases 2021 Clery Act crime statistics

The Stanford Department of Public Safety has published the 2021 campus crime statistics on its website as part of the annual Safety, Security, and Fire Report.

The Stanford University Department of Public Safety (DPS) has posted statistics about campus crimes reported in 2021, an unusual year during which most of the university didn’t fully return to campus until the fall due to the pandemic.

The Stanford DPS publishes the numbers annually as part of its Safety, Security, and Fire Report and in compliance with the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, a consumer protection law that aims to provide transparency around campus crime policy and statistics.

“The overall purpose of the Clery Act is to provide information about specified crimes that have occurred and the steps persons can take to enhance safety and security for themselves and others,” said Laura Wilson, the university’s director of public safety. “The annual Safety Report also contains a wealth of information about how to respond to a variety of emergency situations as well as resources that are available to the community.”

The 2021 statistics are available on the Stanford DPS website.

Under the Clery Act, the Stanford DPS collects statistics on specific crimes: aggravated assault; alcohol and drug law violations; arson; burglary; domestic and dating violence; hate crimes; murder/manslaughter; robbery, sex crimes stalking, vehicle theft, and weapon violations.

The crime statistics reflect incidents reported in 2021 to university staff who are required to share the reports with the Stanford DPS or its Clery Compliance Office, as well as incidents reported to the police. The numbers reflect alleged offenses, including attempts, that have been reported.

The statistics indicate acts that were reported to have happened on the main campus and other locations used by students immediately adjacent to the campus – including the two Stanford hospitals, and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Also included are acts reported to have occurred in non-campus areas, Stanford-affiliate program areas used by students that aren’t geographically contiguous to the main campus, as well as adjacent public property.

“Stanford is, statistically, a safe community,” said Vince Bergado, the university’s Clery compliance coordinator. “That doesn’t mean crime doesn’t happen, so we want to use the annual Safety, Security and Fire Report as an opportunity to help educate people and hopefully keep the frequency of those instances low, through awareness and prevention.”

Crime reported in 2021

There were 44 sex offenses reported to university officials in 2021, compared with 32 in 2020 and 63 in 2019.

Of those, 30 were rape, a jump from the 15 rapes reported in 2020 and down from 37 reported in 2019. The remaining 14 sexual offenses reported last year were fondling, down from 17 in 2020 and 26 in 2019. All of the sexual offenses reported last year were reported as occurring on campus, with 13 of the rapes and six of the fondling incidents occurring at student residences.

Thirty cases of stalking were reported in 2021, compared with 26 in 2020 and 42 in 2019. Last year, 13 cases of domestic violence were reported, up from eight in 2020 and down from 67 in 2019.

“Unfortunately, these incidents are common on college campuses,” Bergado said. “The statistics suggest that our community continues to be vigilant, attentive to their reporting responsibilities and concerned for the safety and support of survivors.”

Stanford encourages those who have been abused to seek support through a variety of resources offered by the university. In 2020, the university created the SHARE Title IX Office as a central resource for redressing and preventing sexual harassment and violence issues experienced by Stanford community members. Students can also contact the Stanford Confidential Support Team, which offers a 24/7 hotline for urgent support, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) in Vaden Health Services, and the YWCA @ Stanford Program, while faculty and staff can contact the Faculty Staff Help Center.

Last year, the Clery Compliance Office received three reports of arson after two years of none being reported. In one case, a chair was set on fire outside of a university building, and it was unclear how it got there or why someone set it on fire. In another instance, someone started a fire on a generator in a parking lot, and in the third case, someone set several items on fire at their home.

There were 31 burglaries reported in 2021, according to the Stanford DPS, compared with 42 in 2020 and 37 in 2019. Ten of those occurred in campus residences and student residential facilities while the remainder occurred in other university buildings. Last year, the Clery Compliance Office received 18 reports of vehicle theft and attempted vehicle theft, compared to 24 in 2020 and 14 in 2019. In 2021, five of the reports of vehicle theft were motorcycles and four were golf carts or utility carts.

While there were some alerts sent out last year regarding car break-ins and catalytic converter thefts, those are not tracked within the Clery Act statistics. They are, however, included in the Stanford DPS’ annual California Education Code report released at the end of the calendar year.

There were 16 aggravated assaults reported in 2021, down from 22 in 2020 and up from 14 in 2019. Nine of those were reported as having occurred in student residences and all were on campus.

In 2021, there was also one arrest for a liquor law violation, compared with five in 2020 and 38 in 2019; one arrest for a weapon law violation, compared with six in 2020 and 10 in 2019; and seven drug law arrests, compared with 16 in 2020 and 14 in 2019.

Part of this drop, Bergado explained, can be attributed to the impact the pandemic had on the on-campus population and what social activities took place, coupled with a strategy shift by the Stanford DPS in response to community feedback obtained by the Community Board on Public Safety (CBPS). The CPBS, which was established by the university president in 2020 to identify, make recommendations, and address issues involving the safety, security, security, and quality of life of students, staff, and faculty while reimaging public safety on the Stanford campus.

There were two hate crimes reported last year, a drop from 10 in 2020 and five in 2019. They included one act of vandalism, in which someone wrote a racial epithet on a sandwich board outside a campus facility, and one act of intimidation when a community member fled after being approached by a male aggressively yelling epithets demonstrating bias based on sexual orientation and race.

Stanford encourages anyone who has been the victim of a hate crime or bias-motivated incident to seek support and report the incident. The process for reporting incidents in which a community member feels harmed at Stanford is called Protected Identity Harm (PIH) Reporting. It is managed by staff who work closely with and in the Office of Inclusion, Community and Integrative Learning, and the Office of the Dean of Students.

One-stop resource

The Stanford DPS works to provide safety, security, law enforcement, crime prevention, and emergency response services for Stanford’s main campus.

The department’s annual Safety, Security, and Fire Report also contains information about campus programs that promote personal safety and crime prevention.

“We structure it to be a real resource for our Stanford community, so if they have questions about security or reporting crimes, they have a one-stop resource,” Bergado said.

Except for instances in which a person has a legal obligation to report certain types of crimes – such as child abuse or sexual assault – the general public does not have an obligation to notify authorities of a crime; however, timely reporting of crimes enables the university to notify the community about incidents that might pose a threat to the those in the area and improves law enforcement’s ability to prevent as well as investigate crimes. “The university strives to provide an environment where people feel safe and secure,” said Bergado, “and I encourage those who witness or become aware of crimes to report them to university officials and the police.”

The Stanford DPS can be contacted during business hours at (650) 723-9633; at its 24-hour non-emergency line at (650) 329-2413; and for emergencies, at 911 or 9911 from a campus phone. The department can also be reached at