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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Crime

2019 annual Clery report shows rise in stalking on campus


Reported instances of stalking have steadily risen from 2016 to 2018, according to the 2019 Clery report. | Christopher Charleston/The Cougar

Released in August, the UH Annual Security and Fire Safety Report for 2019 reveals a spike in reported instances of stalking over a three-year period that could be attributed to increased awareness and reporting.

In 2016, 53 stalking reports were filed with UH Police Department in comparison to the 75 submitted in 2017 and 90 in 2018.

Also known as the Clery report, the document intends to provide the campus community with information about fire safety and statistics on campus crime. This includes crimes listed under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA), which encompasses reported cases of dating violence, domestic violence and stalking.

The report defines stalking as engaging in a course of conduct that would cause an individual to fear for the safety of themselves or others or to suffer substantial emotional distress.

“Substantial emotional distress is defined as significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but not necessarily, require medical or professional treatment or counseling,” UH System Clery coordinator Jason Marquez said.

“All reported cases of behavior that may constitute stalking under the Clery Act are evaluated independently for instances of substantial emotional distress.”

Although reports of stalking filed with UHPD have steadily risen in recent years, this increase may not correlate to a growth in the number of stalking cases overall.

“In recent years, awareness and prevention campaigns, both locally and nationally, have empowered witnesses and victims of certain crimes, such as stalking, to come forward and report offenses that in the past may have remained unreported,” said Marquez.

UHPD plans to continue collaboration with other University entities to mitigate acts like stalking in the future, although they have not publicized specific action that they will take to achieve this objective.

“UHPD is actively involved with other organizations at the University of Houston to combat abusive acts towards members of our University community. UHPD actively works in collaboration with EOS, UH Wellness, UH Student Housing and Residential Life and the UH Women and Gender Resource Center,” said Marquez.

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