The university’s 2008 campus crime report, published today, reveals few significant changes from 2007 statistics. Officials, however, stress that it does not provide the full picture of crime in the community.
Every year, the Division of Student Affairs publishes its Clery Act Campus Security Report. While the report is a useful indicator of crime and substance and sexual abuses on campus, it is missing an important element — Isla Vista statistics gathered by the Foot Patrol or county police are not included. Only crimes reported to the UC Police Dept., campus security officers or the university are part of the report.
Student Affairs released the statistics today to meet the mandate of the Clery Act — a federal law created in response to the 1986 rape and murder of college student Jeanne Clery — which requires all colleges and universities participating in federal student aid programs to disclose detailed crime statistics annually.
What is missing from the Clery Statistics, Michael Young, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, said, is mention of crimes reported to the I.V. Foot Patrol or county police.
“The Clery Report should be used as a tool and as a piece of the information that helps our understanding of issues on campus,” Young said. “But we know that it doesn’t cover everything – there are a lot of things that happen in Isla Vista that might not appear in the report. The safety and welfare of students at UCSB is certainly at the top areas of our concern, and that involves looking at more than just the Clery Report.”
Last year saw 498 reported drug law referrals, all of which were issued in the campus residence halls. When compared against the statistics for 2007, which only tallied 141 drug law referrals, this represents a significant jump, Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Paul Desruisseaux said. The cause of this spike, he said, can be attributed mostly to marijuana.
“These drug law referrals from 2008 are predominantly marijuana-related instances, for four reasons” Desruisseaux said. “First, there are heightened drug regulations in the dorms. Second, there is an increase of students who are much less tolerant of smoking, who complain. Third, medical marijuana card bearers don’t realize or care that UCSB follows federal guidelines and can’t treat these cards as valid. And lastly, there seems to be heightened awareness of flames and fires, which makes it more difficult for people to smoke marijuana on campus.”
Debbie Fleming, associate dean of students for the Office of Student Life, also suggested that more students are carrying medical marijuana cards on campus, which could provide a point of reference for the statistics.
According to Fleming, it’s easy to misconstrue the meaning of the Clery statistics because of the stringent parameters of the federal act. Under the Clery Act, all crimes that occurred on campus, in off-campus buildings that are owned or operated by UCSB or on “public property” - which refers to Isla Vista – and happened to be reported to UCPD or CSOs in the 2008 calendar year are included in the annual Clery Report statistics. These guidelines make it easy to get bogged down or confused, she said.
“Clery statistics [are] valuable, but they’re not the whole picture,” Fleming said.
According to Lt. Brian Olmstead of the IVFP, it is important to carefully scrutinize the criminal activities that occur in Isla Vista to become informed of the dangers that come with irresponsible, usually drunken behavior. For example, Olmstead said that in 2007, 848 citations for Minors in Possession were issued. Last year, however, saw a considerable spike – 1,227 citations were served up.
“A lot of people think that it’s mostly only drinking that’s a big problem in I.V.,” Olmstead said. “But really, there’s a lot of related theft and a lot of violence out in I.V. too. There is a responsibility of I.V. to look out for the well-being of the community and ensure that it can be a safe place – and that means staying informed.”
Some sections of the Clery Report that may be misguiding, Fleming said, are the categories of arson and non-forcible sex offenses. In many cases, a burning couch or flaming dumpster – which could potentially be considered an act of arson – will be simply booked as a count of feeding an already existing fire. For this reason, she said, there were only two acts of arson reported in the Clery report for 2008 and two the year before.
Additionally, Fleming said, the category of non-forcible sex offenses – which many people would consider applicable to charges of sexual harassment – in reality only pertains to acts of incest or statutory rape. This explains why there were no reported instances of non-forcible sex offenses in 2008, and only one the year before.
For a direct look at annual Clery Reports from the past three calendar years, visit www.sa.ucsb.edu/policies/cleryact/cleryactcampussecurityreport.asp. Alternatively, a hard document copy can be provided upon request by calling the Office of Student Life at (805) 893-7884.