2016 statistics reflect increased reporting, other changes
An increase in reported crime on and near The Ohio State University Columbus campus in 2016 in part reflects the university’s efforts to better track and increase reporting of all crime, including sexual misconduct, as well as the assaults that occurred during the Nov. 28 campus attack.
Ohio State released its Annual Security Report and Annual Fire Safety Report Thursday in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act. The reports contain data from calendar year 2016.
Ohio State saw an increase in reported crime in most categories (see full report). University officials said the increases could be partially attributed to a new practice this year of including in the report any crimes for which the exact location is unknown, meaning the possibility that the incidents occurred on campus could not be ruled out.
The on-campus student population also has grown considerably: The number of students living on the Columbus campus increased by 30 percent as of fall 2016 after eight new residence halls opened in 2015 and 2016.
“The safety of our campus community is our No. 1 priority and we take all crime reports very seriously,” said Monica Moll, director of Ohio State’s Department of Public Safety. “The university continues to invest in safety and security to provide proactive policing and security services to additional campus residents and for major events.”
The Ohio State University Police Division (OSUPD) recently hired four new police officers, increasing the current sworn officer total from 49 to 53, and is in the process of making three more hires.
Staffing increases have also extended into campus security with the addition of nine new Campus Protection Officers, bringing the total to 12 CPOs on the Columbus campus. This supplements a total of more than 100 central campus and Wexner Medical Center security officers as well as Student Safety Service officers and technology.
Ohio State continues to refine our reporting process in accordance with Clery guidelines with a focus on transparency. In 2016, the category of “Campus Rape” reports increased from 25 to 61. Part of this increase is because the university now includes rape reports where the exact location is unknown, but we cannot rule out the possibility that the crime occurred on campus. In 2016, this was the case for 24 of the 61 reports of rape. In addition, there is evidence that a program to encourage more reporting of sexual assaults has resulted in more survivors coming forward.
“Sexual assault is a national issue across college campuses and Ohio State continues to strongly focus on increased reporting with the goal of connecting survivors to resources,” said Kellie Brennan, Ohio State compliance director and Title IX/Clery coordinator. “Two years ago, the university launched Buckeyes ACT, a comprehensive program to increase awareness and reporting of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault.”
According to Ohio State’s most recent Campus Climate survey, released last week, 77 percent of students were somewhat or very knowledgeable about where to make a report of sexual assault or sexual misconduct at Ohio State in 2017, compared to 47.8 percent in 2015.
Aggravated assaults and hate crimes increased as a direct result of a Nov. 28 car and knife attack, as each individual act of violence was accounted for in both categories.
“The Nov. 28 attack posed a significant threat to the campus community,” said OSUPD Chief Craig Stone. “We were fortunate that an officer on scene was able to end that threat within a matter of seconds, enabling emergency medical personnel to care for victims.”
In addition to hiring more officers, the university has further formalized and implemented emergency desktop pop-up alerts since the Nov. 28 attack. When a Buckeye Alert is issued, normally sent via text message, a pop-up message will appear on network computers in pool classrooms, computer labs and libraries, and in a portion of administrative staff offices.
The university continues to educate incoming students about safety. Ohio State’s Surviving an Active Shooter video is part of the new student orientation checklist. Nearly all incoming freshmen watch the video to enhance training and preparedness for a potential active aggressor or emergency situation.
The Annual Security Report includes statistics for the previous three years concerning reported crimes that occurred on campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by The Ohio State University, including Wexner Medical Center facilities; and on public property within or immediately adjacent to and accessible from the campus.
The report includes crime statistics from the OSUPD as well as a number of other university officials designated as Campus Security Authorities and local law enforcement agencies. The Annual Security Report is available online. The public may also obtain a printed copy through the University Police Records Unit inside Blankenship Hall.