John Catton, Campus Carrier Staff Writer
In compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, Berry recently released the crime report from 2016.
Last year saw increases in crime reports on campus in all reported categories over the past three years. Reports of burglary increased from two to seven, and forcible sex offensives increased from five to nine from 2014 to 2016, increasing from three to nine in residence halls, specifically.
Reports of arson and motor vehicle theft appeared for the first time since 2014.
The Clery report is compiled by Berry campus security and comes from a variety of sources, such as residence life and campus safety.
Dean of Students and chief Title IX officer Debbie Heida believes that an increase in reports is a good thing, in the long run.
“I don’t think there has been an increase number of incidents, I believe that there is an increase in the number of reports,” Heida said.
According to Lt. Ryan Chelsey, there is regularly an imbalance between sexual assault cases that occur and those that are reported.
“We know in this business that sexual assaults are distortedly underreported and higher reported incidents is not necessarily a bad thing it just means that the reporting processes is working better,” Chelsey said.
Lindsey Norman believes that recent changes to how Title IX offenses are handled at Berry have made it more possible for students to file reports, especially those of sexual assault.
“In the past, the model was one that resolved incidents more publicly through (the) student conduct board as the first line of defense,” Norman said. “But now, by being through the investigator and another Title IX officer as the first line of defense instead, that would make me feel as a student more comfortable to report.”
Reports of burglary also increased, which Chelsey says can be misleading.
“(Burglary reports) come from a very specific group of incidences, so the number looks high,” Chelsey said. “But it looks high because it one was one location burglarized multiple times.”