Police encourage students to report crimes following release of Clery Act report
After an increase in domestic violence and rape cases at Central Michigan University, police encourage students to report crimes to them or other appropriate departments.
Lt. Cameron Wassman discussed the release of this year’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, which was released Thursday, Sept. 28. The annual report documents offenses reported to the university and is required as part of the Clery Act.
The Clery Act requires federally-funded universities to release an annual security report to the public by Oct. 1. CMU released the information in an email the afternoon of Sept. 28.
The locations include on-campus, non-campus, public property and residential facilities.
CMU had an increase in sexual assault and domestic violence from 2015-16, according to the report. In addition, 24 domestic violence offenses took place overall in 2016, as opposed to two reported in 2015.
There were 18 reported rapes overall and 10 on campus in 2016, according to the data. One rape incident was unfounded. There were four reported rapes overall in 2015.
“We want to know these (offenses) are happening so we can address it and ultimately make CMU a safe place,” Wassman said.
With the increase in rape and domestic violence offenses, Wassman said part of the uptick can be attributed to people more willing to report those type of incidents.
“We very much realize there’s a lot of things that go on that don’t get reported,” Wassman said. “The takeaway is, we want to encourage people to report those things. From a police perspective, we encourage them to report to the police department so we can complete a criminal investigation.”
Rape reports do not include statutory rape. There have been zero statutory rape reports on campus reported from 2014-16.
Fondling reports decreased — dipping from 21 in 2015 to six last year.
There were increases from 2015-16 in burglary, motor vehicle theft, liquor law arrests and drug law arrests. Decreases were in incidents involving robbery, aggravated assault, dating violence and stalking.
Wassman said those reports included in the Clery Act do not just include police reports. It also includes non-police investigations the university may have conducted, he said, whether it be in the Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equality or the Office of Student Conduct.
If a criminal investigation is not desired, victims have alternatives such as OCRIE and their hall staff, Wassman said. CMUPD reviews each offense and looks at ways to improve how to create a safer campus, Wassman said. He added CMU is generally a safe campus compared to others and thanks CMU offices and local law enforcement for keeping the numbers low.
“I think CMU really does do a good job when it comes to safety,” Wassman said. “It’s not just the police departments. Our officers do a good job and are dedicated to keeping things safe, but our relationships with the other departments are really important. We’re very fortunate with that.”