Administrators respond to trends in campus Safety and Security Report

Tammy Tran

The annual Safety and Security Report was emailed to all Lawrence students, faculty and staff on Oct. 8. The Safety and Security report is shared with the school community every year in compliance with the federal Drug-Free Schools and Community Act and the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act. Lawrence University is required to file a report because it receives funding from the federal government.
The report includes campus security policies and procedures, alcohol and drug abuse resources, a fire safety report and campus crime statistics.
“The safety and security report generally deals with major crimes, things that do not routinely happen on most college campuses,” said Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Nancy Truesdell. “It allows people who are part of a community to gain information about the crimes that have been reported on their campus.”
While most of the report appears relatively standard, there is an increase noted from 2008 to 2009 in burglary, sexual offense and drug law violations. Specifically, in 2008 zero burglaries were reported on campus; however, in 2009 the number increased to nine burglaries.
Similarly, in 2008 there was one reported case of sexual offense that increased to four the next year. In 2008 there were three reported drug law violations, and in 2009 there were five.
While these increases may initially appear alarming, there are other factors to take into consideration when assessing the safety of our campus.
“It’s hard to tell if the number [of reported cases of sexual offense] rising is a bad thing,” stated Truesdell. “It may mean that we are the kind of campus where students feel comfortable reporting that information because enough information has been shared where we do take it seriously. That we will work with someone who feels they have been the victim of crime.”
It is also worth considering that a high number of reported crimes in one year does not automatically indicate that a trend will occur during future years. This report’s crime statistics reflect what has been reported in that particular year and cannot be used as an accurate representation of what to expect for the future safety report.
For example, when burglaries became frequent in 2009, the Lawrence administration took active steps to resolve the problem. “We installed security cameras, added more security staff and involved the Appleton police. The report shows that something happened that particular year, but in 2010 we did not see those burglaries continue,” said Truesdell.
Even though the Lawrence campus usually feels like a safe place, it is important to bear in mind that the campus is open to the community. Thus, the goal of this report has been to involve all members of the campus community in preserving security.
Associate Dean of Students for Campus Life Amy Uecke stated, “This isn’t something that is fed down from the administration to students. It is an issue that reaches the campus broadly. Faculty, staff and students all have a voice in this conversation.”
“I think sometimes people become complacent, but I would strongly encourage everyone to read it,” stated Truesdell. “That’s the first thing, so that they are aware of their role in preventing crime on campus. Everyone is in this together. It is a measure of the kind of community we are, that we care about each other. Please read it, because it is for everyone’s safety and security that we take this seriously.