Criminal activity across Arizona State University’s Tempe campus has risen by almost 40 percent in the past year, according to the annual Clery Report recently released by the ASU Police department.
The federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) requires both public and private colleges and universities participating in federal student aid programs to disclose safety information once a year.
As one of the largest public universities in the entire nation, ASU is home to six diverse campuses across the beautiful state of Arizona. These include the main campus in Tempe, Downtown Phoenix campus, Polytechnic campus in Mesa, Thunderbird and West campuses in Glendale, and the colleges at Lake Havasu City.
“The ASU police department is dedicated to offering services that are instrumental to success for our students, faculty, and the surrounding community,” said police commander John Thompson. “We do everything in our power to keep people of all backgrounds safe across every campus here at ASU.”
Crime statistics presented by the department include all violent offenses (murder, rape, assault, robbery, etc), hate crimes (race, religion gender, or ethnicity), VAWA offenses (domestic violence and stalking), as well as arrests and disciplinary referrals (violations of weapons, drug abuse, liquor laws).
In the year of 2016, the criminal offense of rape was reported 19 times on ASU’s Tempe campus, which is a 36 percent increase from the 14 times it occurred during the 2015 school year. This horrific act also swelled in student housing facilities, as 18 cases were reported to campus police in this area, a 38 percent increase from last year’s 13 incidents.
“It really is something that I have to worry about all the time,” said freshman Clara Wyers. “My mom even bought me one of those portable cans of pepper spray to attach to my keys before I moved in, you know, in case anything like that ends up happening to me.”
Reports of fondling across the Tempe campus also rose this past year, as police were notified of 23 separate occasions compared to 15 the previous year.
“I try to convince myself it won’t happen,” Wyers stated. “But the numbers seem to keep getting higher and higher every year. It’s absolutely terrifying for a single girl like me.”
Statistics show that these criminal offenses were not the only area that saw an increase during the 2016 school year. On the Tempe campus alone, robbery was up 33 percent, aggravated assault grew by 25 percent, and 129 more arrests were made for alcohol.
Despite these sickening numbers, there were also several areas of crime that actually decreased. Burglary, motor vehicle theft, arson, and drug-related arrests all saw a significant drop off from their 2015 data.
“Campus police work diligently to keep our all of our communities safe,” said Clayton Kidd, a professor in ASU’s school of Criminology and Criminal Justice. “As a former captain of a police department myself, I know how hard it is to consistently prevent and solve every problem. The numbers might seem alarming, but I firmly believe that these officers do an amazing job of protecting our university.”