2014 Annual CLERY report shows status of crime on campus
Upon the release of the 2014 Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report, also known as the “Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act,” the Cougar spoke with Lt. Bret Collier, University of Houston Police Department Chief of Staff to discuss the report’s findings on campus crime and safety.
The Cougar: What was the most significant finding from this year’s CLERY report?
Lt. Bret Collier: All of the statistics are significant in that they provide our community with valuable information, but the most dramatic change from previous year’s reports would be the decrease in burglaries in residential areas. This can be largely attributed to a push to get residents to secure their doors when they are away and it’s clear that students are being increasingly responsible in this area.
TC: What has UHPD done to combat the burglaries in residential areas?
BC: Over the course of the last couple years we’ve added security to every residential area and prioritized these areas for police patrol; but I can’t stress enough how many crimes on campus are opportunistic. Just having residents locking their doors, both to the suites and their bedrooms, is the most effective way of preventing burglaries.
TC: Was this report better than previous years?
BC: Almost all of the reportable crime types were lower in 2014 than in the previous two years of data. Reports of sex offenses increased slightly, but we know this is a largely under-reported category nationwide. With a variety of reporting methods and increased awareness efforts, we hope that more people continue to feel comfortable coming forward to report these types of crimes.
TC: Were there any trends that you noticed?
BC: The university has a smaller data set of crimes to use when looking for trends, so just two or three more crimes in a particular category can give the appearance of a significant change. For a bigger picture, we not only look at crimes that occur on campus, but citywide and even nationwide crime to anticipate what we might expect to see locally.
TC: Overall, how do you think UHPD has done their job to protect students based on these results?
BC: Our officers remain aggressive in addressing crime and safety concerns, but we are only one part of the solution. Lower crime on campus is as much the result of increased community awareness and responsibility as it is amplified police patrols and security posts. The biggest factor in preventing crime is reducing opportunity. We have increased our crime prevention efforts and made the reduction of opportunities for crime our top priority.
TC: Why should students know about the CLERY report?
BC: The Annual Security & Fire Safety Report is not only a good way to get an impression of the type of crimes that can occur on campus, but also to get an overview of crime prevention and investigative measures taken by the police department — as well as University policies important to the safety and security of our community.