Clery Report reveals crime statistics

John Ferrannini and John Ferrannini

Most criminal offenses, arrests, and judicial referrals at American River College reported on the annual Clery Report went down or remained the same in 2013.

But there are concerns as to the report’s relevance and American River College President Thomas Greene convenes a group of administrators to talk about crime on campus.

Sergeant Mike Olson of the Los Rios Police Department says that the Clery Report doesn’t list all the crimes committed on campus.

“The Clery reporting system – the crimes reported – are not the only crimes that occur on campus,” Olson said. “In many cases they are not the most numerous crimes that occur on campus.”

“There are many more crimes that occur that affect our students as well that are not a part of our reporting process.”

Olson said he hopes the drop in what he calls “the most serious crimes that can be committed on campus” is evidence that the police department is doing well.

“I’d like to say we’re doing our job well,” Olson said. “But that is purely subjective. We have a good team, we have a good department. We are proactive and all statistics that we can find anywhere say those are elements for successful crime suppression.”

The Clery Act, a federal law signed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, requires colleges that receive federal funding to release information regarding crime on campus.

It is named after 19-year-old Jeanne Clery, who was raped and murdered in her dorm room in Pennsylvania in 1986.

From 2012 to 2013, robberies listed on the Clery Report went from 3 to 2. Cases of aggravated assault went from 2 to 1. Cases of motor vehicle theft remained the same at 6 per year. Cases of arson went from 4 to 1. Arrests went from 12 to 7.

The only criminal offense that increased in 2013 were cases of burglary, which went from 1 case in 2012 to 3 cases in 2013.

ARC President Thomas Greene said that the Clery Report shows positive trends.

“When you look at the reported crimes on campus, on the Clery Report, and you look at 2010, 2011, and 2012 you can see there’s a downward trend in the total number of those crimes,” Greene said. “The number of incidences that have been reported over the last three years has declined steadily. Does that mean there’s not more that we can do? Absolutely not. There’s always more that you can do.”

Greene is putting “a small group together to start asking questions about and exploring what are some things we can do to enhance safety on this campus.”

The group tentatively includes Greene, Captain John McPeak of the Los Rios Police Department, Vice President of Student Services Jeffrey Stephenson, and ARC Communications & Public Relations Officer Scott Crow.

Greene wants a culture of “shared responsibility” on campus.

“I’m interested in moving safety away from the assumption that its just the responsibility of just our police force or its just the responsibility of the college administration or the employees of the college,” Greene said.

“It’s all of our responsibility, including each other. If we can identify programming that identifies tools in order to achieve that, that would be one of our goals.”

ARC Public Relations Officer Scott Crow said, “Instead of a top down approach, this is an approach that uses that shared responsibility model where students step forward and say safety is important to me.”

Greene said that the rape aggression defense class offered by the Los Rios police on Oct. 17 and Oct. 18 is “one spoke on a wheel of many things we see that approach safety in a proactive fashion.”

Crow said that the Clery Report is a useful resource not only for crime statistics, but also for safety tips and information.

“People often turn to the statistics which are certainly a part of the report,” Crow said.

“What’s really interesting is that the Clery Report actually has 2 dozen pages on safety, tips on how to report a crime, tips on being more aware, education and prevention programs. One thing we can all do is be an ambassador in a small way.”