The Ohio State University publishes annual crime report
2017 statistics reflect increased reporting, other changes
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Crime reports on and near The Ohio State University’s Columbus campus generally increased in 2017, according to the university’s Annual Security Report and Annual Fire Safety Report.
Ohio State released the report Friday in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act. The report contains data reported between Jan. 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2017 (see full report).
University officials cited multiple factors for the increase in crime reports, including a continued focus on educating the campus community on where to make a report in an effort to connect victims to resources as well as an increased campus population.
The 2017 reporting was supported by a team of independent auditing specialists that Ohio State engaged in June 2018 in connection with the university’s dissolution of its Sexual Civility and Empowerment unit to ensure that the university has fulfilled its obligations to report certain offenses to law enforcement, federal regulators and other authorities.
Based on the results of the third-party review from the auditing specialists who reviewed information from several university offices, Ohio State made a number of updates to its reports from previous years, including: one additional report of rape in 2015, four fewer reports of rape in 2016, three additional reports of stalking in 2015, six additional reports of stalking in 2016 and one additional report of aggravated assault in 2016.
“Sexual assault is a national issue and continues to be a focus for all college campuses across the country,” said Kellie Brennan, Ohio State compliance director and Title IX/Clery Act coordinator. “Ohio State continues to focus on providing resources through Buckeyes ACT, a comprehensive program to increase awareness and reporting of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault.”
According to Ohio State’s 2017 Campus Climate survey, 77 percent of students were somewhat or very knowledgeable about where to make a report of sexual assault or sexual misconduct at Ohio State in 2017, compared to 47.8 percent in 2015. Additionally, 70 percent of student respondents believed that it was very or extremely likely that a report of sexual assault or sexual misconduct would be taken seriously by campus officials.
In addition, for the second year in a row, the university included reports for crimes for which the exact location is unknown, meaning the possibility that the incidents occurred on campus could not be ruled out. This accounted for 31 of the 71 incidents included in the campus rape category.
A rise in the number of students living on the Columbus campus may have contributed to higher crime statistics. Ohio State had 30 percent more students living on its Columbus campus as of fall 2016 with the opening of new residence halls impacting the full 2017 crime data.
Additional residence hall suites, containing multiple rooms, factored into a rise in the campus burglary category which spiked from 19 to 49 reports in 2017. Burglaries from residence hall suites that involve thefts from multiple rooms count as separate incidents. Ohio State continues to train its police officers in the intricacies between Clery and the Ohio Revised Code to reinforce these reporting differences.
The Ohio State University Police Division (OSUPD) issued a Public Safety Notice in November 2017 following a rash of burglaries in residence hall rooms. The resulting investigation led to an arrest.
“Safety of students, faculty and staff remains our top priority,” said Monica Moll, director of Ohio State’s Department of Public Safety. “We continue to hire additional police officers and invest in safety tools to provide proactive policing and security services to campus residents and for major events.”
Non-campus crime also increased with the largest jump occurring in aggravated assaults, up from one to 13 in 2017. At least seven of these 13 incidents were related to one fraternity which has since been suspended by the university for three years.
The university continues to educate incoming students about safety. Ohio State released a new Surviving an Active Aggressor video this fall along with a new safety app, Rave Guardian, which allows for faster emergency notifications and the ability to build a safety network of friends and family through GPS tracking.
The Annual Security Report includes statistics for the previous three years concerning reported crimes that occurred on campus; in off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Ohio State, including Wexner Medical Center facilities; and on public property within or immediately adjacent to and accessible from the campus.
The report includes crime statistics from the OSUPD as well as a number of other university officials designated as Campus Security Authorities and local law enforcement agencies. The Annual Security Report is available online. The public may also obtain a printed copy through the University Police Records Unit located at Blankenship Hall.