Clery Report provides partial picture

Gabi Wy

Steve Bequette needs student help solving Public Safety’s puzzles.

The university’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, a required document for federally funded universities based on the Clery Act, released statistics on disciplinary actions and criminal offenses from 2012-2014.

Bequette, the assistant director of Public Safety, said when students don’t report questionable behavior, pieces of security’s puzzles are missing.

In terms of sexual violence, he said security has improved by providing opportunities for victims to report their cases.

“There is the confidentiality option if they want to stay anonymous and not report specifics,” Bequette said. “We will put it in the report, but not include any information. So they may request that it not be investigated.”

While Public Safety respects the sensitivity of Title IX violations, Bequette said investigation could be necessary.

“The only way that (request) could be overridden and we would urge them to report the perpetrator or events involved would be a dire threat to the campus, safety or security,” he said. “We’ll need to take different action for the welfare of all.”

The federal standards previously broke down sex offenses into two categories—forcible and non-forcible. For 2014, the official classifications are rape, fondling, incest and statutory rape.

“A couple years ago, the FBI changed the actual definition of rape,” Bequette said. “It’s basically putting a tag on the event that happened.”

A fondling incident and a rape took place on campus in 2014 compared to no reported offenses in 2013 and six forcible sex offenses in 2012.

“We feel good our statistics look low,” Bequette said, “but we’re always cognizant of the fact that a lot of these go unreported.”

Five dating violence incidents occurred in 2014 and two in 2013, according to the report.

“It’s always going to happen because you’re dealing with people. People don’t always get along and know how to handle it,” he said.

Because this area became a component of the document just last year, Bequette said there hasn’t been enough time to analyze a trend.

“We really educate, and people are cognizant of what are symptoms in bad relationships,” he said. “We educate how victims can extricate themselves from these situations.”

Stalking also became a part of the report in 2013. There were two stalking reports in 2013 as well as two in 2014.

“I don’t see that it’s increasing here,” Bequette said. “It usually involves relationships gone bad or wanting a relationship and being spurned. The victim has to first take that step and say, ‘No more.’”

Burglaries increased from two in 2012 and two in 2013 to five in 2014.

“We did see a little bump in burglaries, which is unusual,” Bequette said. “We strongly urge everyone to take responsibility for their own personal safety. I think there’s a lax in that. People will leave their doors unlocked …  It’s not usually forced entry. Some people make it really easy.”

Bequette wants to enforce “see something, say something” as a primary message for students.

“What someone says could be small piece of something we already have a half-painted picture of,” he said. “It could really fit in and help us with an incident that has occurred or could occur.”