The 2008 Campus Safety Report released Monday paints a mixed picture of crime on campus.
Although burglaries and thefts on campus decreased by more than half in 2008 from the previous two years, the number of forcible sexual assaults in residence halls — including rapes — nearly tripled from 2007 to 2008. And the number of liquor violations continued to be well above 2006 numbers.
While University officials praised the Yale Police Department’s success in reducing burglaries, they said the increase in sexual assaults is not a large concern.
“I would hesitate to call a one-year change a trend,” Deputy University Secretary Martha Highsmith said. “This could be the result of many factors, including more willingness from students to report serious incidents.”
According to the report, on-campus burglaries and thefts dropped from 103 in 2007 to 51 in 2008, while forcible sexual assaults and rapes in residence halls increased to 11 in 2008 from four in 2007.
When Highsmith provided preliminary 2008 crime numbers to the News in February, she praised the YPD for “excellent” work.
The preliminary numbers hinted at the recorded large drop in burglaries. But the preliminaries also said that the number of sexual assaults had increased by less than three over the previous year.
“This kind of record of crime reduction is unheard of,” she said at the time.
The number of arrests for liquor law violations on campus held steady, with 29 arrests in 2008.
A new Connecticut law that went into effect Oct. 1, 2006, states that those who knowingly allow or facilitate underage drinking will be held as responsible as the drinkers themselves. But Highsmith said in August that the increase in arrest for liquor-law violations, from three in 2006 to 33 in 2007, is not due to the new law.
The arrests, she said, are almost all non-Yale students.
“In public property around campus,” she said, “we are doing a lot of quality-of-life enforcement.”
Harvard University reported no increase in forcible sexual assaults from last year. In both 2007 and 2008, Harvard reported 15 rapes and “forcible sexual fondlings” in residence halls.
Princeton University reported a slight increase in forcible sexual assaults in residence halls from 12 in 2007 to 17 in 2008.
In August, Highsmith said violent crime on campus so far in 2009 was down from 2008. But, she said, there had been a slight uptick in burglaries and thefts.
In New Haven as a whole, burglaries increased 9 percent in 2008 from 2007, while the number of rapes remained steady.
The U.S. Department of Education requires that all universities compile and report crime statistics annually.