Following last week’s disclosure of the 2005 Report on Campus Security, Yale administration officials said they are pleased with the overall decrease in on-campus robberies, but remain concerned about the number of forcible sex offenses on campus.
The report, released Friday by University Secretary Linda Lorimer, indicates that the number of total on-campus robberies in the year 2005 decreased over 20 percent from the year before, falling from 82 to 63 reported incidents. While Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith and officials from the Yale Police Department called this figure encouraging, they said Yale remains concerned about the number of forcible sex offences on campus, which nearly tripled from 2004 to 2005.
“We are pleased to see a decrease in street crime in areas patrolled by the Yale Police Department,” Highsmith said. “That being said, sex [crimes] certainly is an issue that we remain concerned about.”
Highsmith said eight of the 11 reported forcible sex offenses involved Yale students. Of those eight, she said three were reported as rapes, three were reported as unwanted sexual contact and two were reported anonymously as sexual assault.
The report, released in accordance with federally mandated guidelines, includes all crimes that happen within the geographical boundaries of Yale’s campus that have been reported formally to the YPD or informally to Yale officials such as residential college masters and deans.
In her e-mail to the Yale community on Friday, Lorimer said the University included incidents from outside the technical boundary of campus in the report because the incidents involved members of the Yale community.
Although the statistics released in the report suggest a tripling of sex crimes at Yale, officials who helped compile the report cautioned students against jumping to conclusions. Rather than being alarmed at the increase, YPD Chief James Perrotti said he believes the increase reflects greater willingness on the part of sex crime victims to come forward and report these incidents.
“The University has made a tremendous effort, and I think a successful effort, to encourage people who have been the victim of [sex] crimes to come forward,” he said. “I think that the [statistics] show that.”
Last month, the Yale College Dean’s Office announced the establishment of an on-campus center and 24-hour hotline for sexual assault following an extensive review of Yale’s sexual assault policies by the Sexual Harassment Grievance Board.
Alexandra Suich ’08, a member of the grievance board, said she could not comment specifically on the results of the Security Report, but thinks the University is making a genuine effort to encourage more victims of sex crimes to come forward.
“I can state with confidence that [Yale] definitely cares about this issue,” she said. “There has been tangible progress made with the announcement of the new center and the 24-hour hotline.”
Under the 1998 amendment to the Higher Education Act, Universities are required to publish crime statistics in order to help students and their parents research criminal offenses on college campuses.