Crime Statistics Paint A Picture Of Reporting Culture At Utah Universities, Colleges
Utah colleges and universities have released their required annual crime statistics reports. These paint a picture of campus safety at the various campuses across the state.
KUER dove into the numbers for Brigham Young University, Dixie State University, Salt Lake Community College, Southern Utah University, Snow College, University of Utah, Utah Valley University, Utah State University and Weber State University and analyzed trends of reported sex- and drug-related offenses .
There was one murder last year across the nine schools — that of 21-year-old University of Utah track star Lauren McCluskey who was killed on-campus last October.
The reports are part of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act — also known as the Clery Act. It requires postsecondary educational institutions which receive federal funding to disclose campus crime statistics and security information. The data include offenses reported at on-campus locations, such as student housing facilities, and at off-campus properties near the institution or at fraternities and sororities affiliated with the school.
Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University issued five annual security reports for its campuses in Provo, Salt Lake City, Washington, D.C., London and Jerusalem. Reports of dating violence, domestic violence and rape were steady on BYU campuses between 2016 and 2018. However, reports of fondling during this time period rose from five in 2016 to 17 last year.
BYU police Lt. Steven Messick wasn't immediately available to comment on these statistics.
BYU has a total of 33,511 students, according to its website.
DIXIE STATE UNIVERSITY
Data from Dixie State University’s Clery Report shows a total five reports of rape, fondling, stalking and domestic and dating violence in 2018. That’s half the total reports of those offenses in 2016.
“Dixie State University is a very safe school,” said Cindy Cole, the school’s Associate General Counsel and Title IX Coordinator.
Arrests for drug abuse violations went down from 73 in 2017 to 19 in 2018. Arrests for liquor law violations also fell between 2016 and 2018.
Cole said the previous campus police administration counted all crimes documented by its department. This year’s lower numbers reflected only crimes reported on-campus property and non-campus property that are affiliated with the school.
DSU is located in St. George and had close to 10,000 students enrolled last school year, according to its website.
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Salt Lake Community College’s annual report included offenses reported at its Taylorsville, Redwood, South City, Jordan, Meadowbrook, Miller, Library Square, Westpointe Center and West Valley Center campuses across Salt Lake County. Reports of domestic violence, dating violence, rape and fondling were steady between 2016 and 2017.
SLCC has more than 60,000 students across its 10 campuses. Spokesman Joy Tlou did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
SOUTHERN UTAH UNIVERSITY
Southern Utah University, based in Cedar City, had four or less reports each of rape, fondling and dating violence between in 2016 and 2018, according to its annual security and fire safety report. It had no reports of domestic violence between 2016 and 2018.
It’s drug and liquor law violations also dropped during this time period.
SUU did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
SUU had 10,196 students enrolled last year.
Stalking reports at Snow College’s Ephraim and Richfield campuses sharply fell from 10 in 2017 to 1 in 2018, according to its annual security report.
Last year, it had four reports of rape, one less than in 2017. It had one lone report of dating violence in 2018, compared to zero in 2016 and 2017.
“Student safety is a top priority at Snow College,” said spokeswoman Marci Larsen. “To strengthen our efforts, we have added a full-time police officer this year (and) our Title IX Office has continued to promote and teach an informative training for all students and employees, and we continue to utilize our student-focused CARE team to promote a healthy, safe environment.”
Snow College had 5,514 students enrolled in 2018.
UNIVERSITY OF UTAH
Fondling and stalking reports at the University of Utah increased between 2017 and 2018, according to data from its 2019 security report.
In that same time period, the university saw a slight decrease in the number of reported rapes.
There were two murders on campus in the past two years. The most recent involved track star Lauren McCluskey who was killed on campus last October. In 2017, 23-year-old University of Utah student ChenWei Guo was shot and killed at the mouth of Red Butte Canyon.
After McCluskey’s murder, the university launched an independent investigation that made 30 recommendations on how it could improve safety on campus.
The university had no reported criminal incidents at its Sandy or St. George campuses.
The university had a total of 33,023 students enrolled in 2018.
UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY
Reports of dating violence went down across Utah State University’s campuses from 2016 to 2018, according to its annual security and fire safety report. Meanwhile, USU saw an increase in fondling reports in the same time period. Fondling reports went from 2 in 2016 to 16 in 2018, with a majority of those cases happening on its Eastern campus in Price. Reports of stalking and domestic violence have fluctuated during these years.
But the annual security report might not paint the complete picture of what’s happening on campus because often times, sex crimes such as sexual assault or stalking can go underreported, said USU spokeswoman Amanda DeRito.
“Some of this is because students don’t know how serious these crimes are and some of this because there are barriers to reporting such as feeling uncomfortable,” she said.
In the past two years, DeRito said USU has focused on improving the way it responds to reports of sex crimes and attending to the needs of survivors.
USU has overhauled its Title IX office as part of that effort and added new staff members such as a sexual misconduct prevention coordinator, Title IX coordinator and an executive director of the Office of Equity.
USU currently has 22,716 students who physically attended one or more of its campuses, DeRito said. That number does not include online students or students who are concurrently enrolled in the university while in high school.
UTAH VALLEY UNIVERSITY
Reports of stalking and fondling at Utah Valley University slightly fell in 2018, according to its annual security report. Last year, 7 cases of stalking and four cases of fondling were reported compared to 2017 when 10 reports of each offense were reported.
Last year, UVU had three reports of rape, one more from 2017. Two reports of domestic violence and one report of dating violence occured last year.
“Although we have low numbers, one sexual assault is one too many,” said UVU spokesman Scott Trotter. “These numbers represent our students, and we take all of this very personally and seriously.”
WEBER STATE UNIVERSITY
Reports of rape doubled at Weber State University from 2016 to 2018, according to annual security and fire report and safety plan.
Police Chief Dane LeBlanc said some of those rape reports were incidents that took place years ago but weren’t reported until recently. He said the increase in rape reports reflects students willingness to come forward.
WSU’s annual security report also shows a drop in arrests for drug abuse and liquor law violations. LeBlanc said that’s because he’s pushing for fewer arrests and more disciplinary referrals whenever possible. ‘
“Our approach has been more educational rather than throwing them in the judicial system,” LeBlanc said.
There were 28,247 students enrolled at WSU in 2018.
Correction 10:48 a.m. MDT 10/2/19: Due to a formatting error, text and graphics were missing from a previous version of this story. It has been updated.