Annual police security report details changing trends in campus crime

The 2013 Geneseo Annual Security & Fire Safety report was released in September 2014, although from this year on, the report will follow different guidelines. One of the most notable changes is the addition of dating violence, domestic violence and stalking statistics to the Table 1 Federal Bureau of Investigation Crime Index. The table originally consisted of murder, burglary, robbery and arson, among others.

Interim Chief of the University Police Department Thomas Kilcullen said that the additions are the result of initiatives from the federal government.

“There were a couple things that directed that change, and part of it was coming from the Department of Education and the White House, along with changes for the way we do 2014 reporting,” Kilcullen said.

The additions come as part of a revamping of the way the reports are generated. State Universities of New York and the federal government are looking at how campuses should be more responsive and responsible.

“There were meetings across the state by administrators who took an enterprise view as it related to clearer reporting,” Kilcullen said.

An “enterprise view” simply means that SUNY is attempting to capture and specify organizational requirements and structure, standardizing them amongst all the state-run institutions.

“There are 29 state-operated institutions that all need to get on the same page,” Kilcullen said. “So by taking an enterprise approach and adopting certain changes, we can eliminate any discrepancies that may take place.”

In addition to these changes, the manner in which statistics are reported has changed as well. The 2013 report reads that in 2011 and 2012, there were 138 and 151 conduct reviews for liquor law violations, respectively. In 2013 there are 31.

This comes from a change in ideology, as previously there was a focus on following the “spirit of the law.” Any instance they felt fell under the intentions of the law were reported. Now, the school will be reporting statistics that follow the “letter of the law,” which is to say the law was broken––leaving less room for interpretation.

“We took a look at the reports as they were being statistically reported, looking at the spirit of query verses the letter of query,” Kilcullen said. “So based on legal counsel and advisement we received from the SUNY administration, we are to focus more on the letter of the law.”

Aside from revisions to the manner in which the report is compiled, there were also trends to be found. Looking at the report, there was an increase in instances of arson––the vast majority of which took place in residence halls.

Arson Infographic
Arson Infographic

“In looking at the individual reports… somebody burnt name tags on doors, someone burnt a poster on a wall, and there was one case where there was a fire outside Nassau Hall. It was a 1x1 fire that was probably fueled by an accelerant,” Kilcullen said.

In combatting these instances Kilcullen added that UPD is working to inform students.

“The answer is education, continuous education. But one of the difficulties of that is every year we lose 25 percent of the population and replace it with an uneducated 25 percent,” he said.

Most of the arson happened in freshman residence halls, such as Nassau and Onondaga Halls.

With regards to other instances of illegal activity, there were 33 drug-related arrests on campus and 9 conduct referrals in 2013. With alcohol, however, there were 31 conduct referrals and 4 arrests.

Kilcullen explained that this trend is due to the nature of drug use and alcohol use.

“If [underage students] decide to sit in a dorm and drink, they very likely will go undetected,” he said. “And if they are, it is often by Residence Life who will handle it internally. Many of the cases that we get of drug relation are via a complaint of odor, which is sent to us, and so now those students are in direct contact with the police and that will result in an arrest.”

The Annual Security & Fire Safety Report is compiled for the benefit of students so that they can be informed about the well-being of the campus, and in turn their own well-being.