University issues annual crime report, overview of safety resources
The Ohio State University released today itsAnnual Security and Fire Safety reports. Most crime categories on or near the Columbus campus showed a significant decrease in 2020, as the university adapted to hybrid or remote learning to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today’s release, which includes statistics from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2020, complies with theJeanne CleryDisclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.
“Last year was unique in that our campus population was reduced and most in-person events were canceled,” said Chief Kimberly Spears-McNatt of The Ohio State University Police Division (OSUPD). “Our commitment to safety remains strong, and we have introduced many additional resources to enhance safety on and off campus for our students, faculty, staff and visitors.”
While the Annual Security and Fire Safety reports reflect campus statistics, the university has expanded its resources in nearby neighborhoods. Recently, Ohio State announced additionalfundingandsafety measures. Ohio State also launched a university and community partner basedTask Force on Community Safety and Well-Beingin October 2020, following the tragic shooting death of student Chase Meola. The university has since fully or partially implemented 13 of 15 task force recommendations, including:
- Increased Community Crime Patrols made up of community partners. These foot patrols provide an extra set of eyes and ears in the off-campus neighborhoods where some students live.
- Increased police patrols using a combination of OSUPD and the Columbus Division of Police (CPD) to patrol the immediate off-campus area.
- Enhanced cultural diversity training for OSUPD, withsupervisors graduating from a 6-week online leadership course from the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
- Improved lighting in partnership with the City of Columbus, through immediate lighting repairs and a lighting survey for longer-term enhancements, as well as the addition of mobile lights along highly traveled areas.
- Expanded surveillance coverage in the off-campus neighborhoods with the addition of four cameras in autumn 2020 and five during spring 2021.
- Expandeddiscounted ridesharing hours. Lyft Ride Smart at Ohio State now runs from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. and offers most rides for around $1.
- Added resources to the University District Organization (UDO) to develop and offer social service outreach, such as a newly announced partnership to provide afull-time, licensed independent social worker.
- Created anonline safety classcovering topics such ascrime prevention, crime reporting, when and how the university issues crime alerts, self-defense, mental health and more.
Theuniversity’sSurviving an Active Aggressor video is required viewing on the new student orientation checklist. Additional safety resources and information are available through the university’sDepartment of Public SafetyandOffice of Student Life.
Clery Act requirements
The Clery Act is a federal statute requiring institutions of higher learning that receive federal funding to publish an annual securityreport by Oct.1 each year. Clery requires the inclusion of reported incidents that occurred on campus, in non-campus university buildings or property owned or controlled by Ohio State or its recognized student organizations, and on public property within or immediately adjacent to and accessible from campus.
In accordance with the Clery Act, colleges and universities are further required to:
- Count incidents in the year they were reported rather than the year in which they occurred.
- Provide statistics reflecting total incidents reported and not the total number of victims. One individual could report multiple incidents, and each of those incidents would be counted separately and then added together toward a total number.
- Include incidents in which an individual shares that another person was the victim of a crime or that multiple people were victims. If no further details are available, a determination is made based on the characterization of the reporting party.
Because the Clery Act requires that incidents are counted in the year they were reported, rather than the year in which they occurred, the statistics also include incidents of sexual abuse by RichardStrauss. Strauss was a university-employed physician from1978 to 1998. He died in 2005. The abuse by Strauss was the subject of an independent investigation by Perkins Coie LLP. That investigation detailed acts of sexual abuse against former students by Strauss.Perkins Coie provided the majority of Strauss-related data for this year’s security report, which includes allegations made in lawsuits filed against the university related to Strauss.
2020 reporting statistics for Columbus
The statistics include informationfrom Ohio State’s police division and a number of other university officials designated by the Clery Act as Campus Security Authorities and local law enforcement agencies.In 2020,campuscrime reports decreasedsignificantlyin most categoriesyear-over-year, including:
- Aggravated assault: Down from 22 to nine
- Burglary: Down from 71 to 36
- Stalking: Down from 91 to 57
- Dating violence: Down from 64 to 37
- Domestic violence: Down from 36 to 12
Robbery and motor vehicle theft saw more modest decreases with robbery down from five to four, and motor vehicle theft down from 11 to nine compared to the previous year.
Rape reports increased for the third straight year, rising from 118 in 2019 to 134 in 2020 in instances unrelated to Strauss. Campus fondling also increased from 43 to 59.Education, including mandatory, annual sexual assault and sexual harassment training, remains a focus for the university.In 2016, Ohio State implemented mandatory sexual misconduct prevention education for incoming students. The university expanded this requirement in 2018 to all students, faculty and staff.
Reports of non-campus fondling unrelated to Strauss rose from eight to 30. The university accounts for this increase, in part, due to a rise in sexual assault reports taking place on social media. The university received multiple reports in the spring and summer of 2020resulting from individuals reporting social media posts. Also, multiple fondling reports occurred with no discernable location, which Clery guidance states should be included in campus, non-residence hall data. These incidents partially account for the increase from 43 to 59 in campus fondling reports unrelated to Strauss.
According to Ohio State’s 2019 Campus Climate survey(thelatest data available), 32% of students, mirroring national results, were very or extremely knowledgeable about where to make a report of sexual assault or sexual misconduct at Ohio State, compared to 21% in 2015. Additionally, 39% of students were very or extremely knowledgeable about where to get help at Ohio State if they were a victim of sexual assault or sexual misconduct, compared to 24% in 2015.
The 2021 Annual Security Report also includes crime tables for all Ohio State regional campuses.
The abuse by Strauss from decades ago was the subject of anindependent investigationby Perkins Coie announced in 2018 by Ohio State. The findings detailed acts of sexual abuse against former students and concluded that university personnel at the time had knowledge of complaints and concerns about Strauss’ conduct as early as 1979 but failed to investigate or act meaningfully.
In accordance with federal law, the Annual Security Report released today counts incidents in the year that they were reported rather than the year in which they occurred. Any reports made in 2018, 2019 or 2020 of acts committed by Strauss in the specified locations during his 20-year employment as a physician at Ohio State, from 1978 to 1998, are included in the statistics. Perkins Coie provided the majority of Strauss-related data for this year’s security report, which includes allegations made in lawsuits filed against the university related to Strauss. Additionally:
- Per federal law, statistics reflect total incidents reported rather than total number of victims. One individual could report multiple crimes or multiple occurrences of a single crime, for example, and all of those reports would be counted. As evident in the findings of Perkins Coie’s Strauss investigation and the federal lawsuits, several survivors reported recurring abuse.
- To help ensure an accurate accounting for Strauss’ abuse, all reportable incidents have been included. In some instances, former student-athletes indicated that, along with themselves, their teammates had been abused by Strauss decades ago. If no further details were available, a determination was made based on the characterization of the reporting party. These determinations were made by Perkins Coie using Clery Act definitions and based on reports received during its independent investigationand from guidance sought by the university from the U.S. Department of Education.
Ohio State has implemented multiple additional safeguards in the 23 years since Strauss left the university. Details on programs and initiatives are on the university’sStrauss investigation website.
Timely Warnings, also known as Public Safety Notices, are provided to heighten safety awareness by giving students, faculty and staff notification of Clery crimes that occur only on campus property, noncampus property, or on public property immediately adjacent to and accessible from campus (see CSA reporting form for definitions of these property classifications) and are considered by Ohio State to present a serious or continuing threat to students and employees.
Clery crimes include Murder and NonNegligent Manslaughter; Manslaughter by Negligence; Sexual Assault (Rape, Fondling, Incest, Statutory Rape); Robbery; Aggravated Assault; Burglary; Motor Vehicle Theft; Arson; Hate Crimes (which can include all of the previously listed crimes and Larceny Theft, Simple Assault, Intimidation, and Destruction-Damage-Vandalism of Property where the offense manifests evidence that the victim was intentionally selected because of perpetrator’s bias against the victim based on the victim’s actual or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, national origin, or disability); Domestic Violence; Dating Violence; Stalking; and violations of Ohio weapons, drug, and liquor laws.
University Police are responsible for preparing a Public Safety Notice when a crime is reported to or brought to their attention and that crime represents a serious or continuing threat to the safety of students and employees. Other university offices and departments will report crimes to University Police for timely warning consideration when they have reason to believe that the crime could represent a serious or continuing threat to students or employees. Information for alerts also may come from other law enforcement agencies or other offices. While every attempt will be made to distribute the alert as soon as possible after an incident or series of incidents is reported, the release will occur after a determination is made that the crime(s) represents a continuing threat to students and employees and is subject to the availability of accurate facts concerning the incident(s).
Information about criminal incidents is reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine whether those incidents represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees. Incidents will be reviewed based on the nature of the crime, the facts of the case, the information known to the University Police, and the continuing danger to the campus community.
Criminal suspects often are unknown to the victims. In the instance of a violent crime occurring between two individuals who know each other, University Police will look at each instance to determine if the suspect poses a continued threat to the campus community and will issue a warning when necessary.
Public Safety Notices also seek information that may lead to arrest and conviction of the offender when violent crimes against people or major crimes against property have been reported to the police and may contain crime prevention tips and safety information. University Police make every effort to properly classify a criminal incident when issuing a Public Safety Notice. Upon further analysis and investigation, it may be determined that incidents for which Public Safety Notices are issued do not fall within the definitions of reportable crimes included in this report; therefore, some incidents for which Public Safety Notices are issued may not be included in the crime statistics provided by this report.
Public Safety Notice Procedure
University Police will prepare a Public Safety Notice when a report of a Clery crime is received that is determined to represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees. Public Safety Notices are most frequently issued in situations involving a violent crime against a person or a particularly threatening crime or series of crimes against property, but they could be issued for any Clery crime, if warranted. Notices may be issued for such crimes that occur within the Clery reporting geography – on campus property, noncampus property, or on public property immediately adjacent to and accessible from campus. Public Safety Notices are sequentially numbered, beginning January 1 of each year, and provide details of the crime, a description of the suspect if known, information on whom to contact about the investigation, and often crime prevention tips. Public Safety Notices do not include the names of crime victims.
Information included in Public Safety Notices:
- A succinct statement of the incident.
- Possible connection to previous incidents, if applicable.
- Physical description of the suspect, if available.
- Photo or composite drawing of the suspect, if available.
- Date and time the bulletin was released.
- Other relevant and important information about the crime(s).
- Actions taken by Public Safety officials in response to the crime(s).
- Information about crime prevention, personal safety or other community safety resources.
University Police may not include some known information in a Public Safety Notice if providing that information could risk compromising law enforcement efforts. Additionally, Public Safety Notices may be updated if new or more accurate information becomes available to the University Police.
Public Safety Notices are distributed by emails sent to all @osu.edu email addresses, which are accessible and available to all students, faculty, and staff. These emails are drafted by the University Police and are distributed by the Department of Public Safety. In some circumstances, the University Police may distribute flyers to appropriate university departments to be posted in affected areas of campus. While several local media outlets receive Public Safety Notices through the subscription service discussed below, the University Police also may contact the media directly to distribute information about criminal incidents in some situations.
Public Safety Notices also may be viewed at dps.osu.edu/psn. In addition to the emails sent to all students and staff, the University Police offers a free service that sends an email update to any email address when a Public Safety Notice is issued. Visit dps.osu.edu/psn to subscribe to this service.
Note that Public Safety Notices are a separate and distinct process from the emergency notification provided by the Buckeye Alert system, but when an emergency notification is issued for a criminal incident, a separate timely warning may not be issued for the same circumstances. For information about Buckeye Alert text messaging, visit buckeyealert.osu.edu.
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Report a Crime
The university prepares the Annual Security Report to comply with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act. Crime statistics reported to designated campus officials, including but not limited to officials in those departments listed below, and law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction over all other reportable university properties are included in the Annual Security Report. Criminal statistics from Columbus Police include statistics from recognized student organizations with off-campus housing.
- The Ohio State University Police
- Columbus Division of Police
- Clinton Township Police Department
- Upper Arlington Police Department
- Vice President for Student Life
- Student Conduct Office
- University Housing
- Office of University Compliance and Integrity's Clery Act Coordinator
- The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
- Department of Athletics
The Ohio State University's Annual Security Report is the result of the efforts of many people on campus. Each year the offices and individuals listed above provide information for inclusion in the Annual Security Report. No formal police report is required for a crime to be included in the statistics. Every effort is taken to ensure that all persons required to report do so, and that statistics are as accurate and complete as possible. Information included in the Annual Security Report is reviewed for accuracy, completeness and readability.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of the statistics and information in the Annual Security Report, please contact Ohio State's Department of Public Safety at 614-247-6300.
The Ohio State University will not retaliate, intimidate, threaten, coerce, or otherwise discriminate against any individual for exercising the rights or responsibilities provided by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.
Review additional Clery Act information.
Download The Annual Security Report
Most crime at Ohio State down in 2020, but rape reports increase again, crime report says
Most campus crime at Ohio State decreased in 2020 during the pandemic, though reports of rape and fondling increased, according to the latest campus safety report.
Each year, higher education institutions that receive federal funding are required under the federal Clery Act to publish an annual safety report and campus crime statistics for the previous three years. The crime statistics for 2020 were released by Ohio State on Friday.
Statistics include crimes reported on campus, in non-campus university buildings or property controlled by Ohio State or its student organizations, and on public property within or immediately adjacent to campus. The data does not reflect crimes that were reported in off-campus areas like Columbus' University District.
The report, published each October, includes incidents reported during the last calendar year, not the academic year.
"Last year was unique in that our campus population was reduced and most in-person events were canceled" because of COVID-19, Ohio State University Police Chief Kimberly Spears-McNatt said of crime report in a prepared statement.
In 2020, OSU Columbus main campus crime reports decreased significantly in a number of categories from the previous year.
Aggravated assaults reports were down from 22 in 2019 to nine last year, a nearly 60% decrease. Burglaries decreased from 71 to 36, and robberies decreased from five to four. Motor vehicle thefts also saw a slight decrease from 11 to nine.
Reports of domestic violence saw the greatest decrease, from 36 the prior year to 12 in 2020, a 66% decline.
Stalking reports decreased from 91 incidents in 2019 to 57 incidents last year, and dating violence incidents reported to police decreased from 64 to 37 reports.
Hate crimes declined by one to 12 reports last year.
Not all crime categories saw such improvements, however.
Rape reports increased for the third year in a row, from 118 incidents in 2016 to 134 in 2020. Fondling reports also saw increases both on and off campus. On campus, fondling reports increased from 43 to 59, while off-ampus reports increased more significantly from eight to 30.
The report states the increase was due, in part, to a rise in people sharing their sexual assault experiences on social media. The university received multiple reports in the spring and summer of 2020 after individuals shared posts on social media about sexual assaults.
This year's campus crime data also included statistics related to reports of sexual misconduct by Richard Strauss, the late Ohio State physician accused of sexually abusing hundreds of former athletes and other students.
More: What to know about Ohio State doctor Richard Strauss
In 2020, Ohio State reported an additional 472 instances of fondling and 45 instances of rape attributed to Strauss. The number of Strauss-related reports to date now totals 2,666 incidents of fondling and 172 instances of rape.
Although Strauss was employed by Ohio State from 1978 to 1998, federal guidelines require universities count crime statistics in the year they were reported rather than the year they occurred. The statistics also refer to total incidents reported, not the total number of victims.
This year's report also clarified several previous Strauss-related reports. Seattle-based law firm Perkins Coie, which conducted the initial Strauss investigation, received new information from the university based on litigation pertaining to Strauss abuse. As a result, six instances of fondling from 2018 and one instance of fondling from 2019 were reclassified as instances of rape.
Because the Clery Act stipulates that universities count crimes during the year they were reported, Ohio State officials expect additional Strauss-related incidents could be added to campus safety for the next several years, according to the report.
More safety measures following Chase Meola's death
A widely known off-campus crime also was not included in this year's report: the October 2020 shooting death of Chase Meola.
Meola, a 23-year-old New Jersey native and fifth-year Ohio State marketing major, was fatally shot at an off-campus party in the early morning hours of Oct. 11, 2020.
That shooting was not included in this campus crime report because the Clery Act does not require the university to include crimes that occur in off-campus areas immediately adjacent to OSU or within the greater University District area.
Although the shooting is not included in the 2020 data, Ohio State reports it has taken steps to reduce crime on and off campus since Meola's death.
The university created a safety and well-being task force within weeks of the fatal shooting and proposed more than a dozen safety and security recommendations. They included expanding surveillance camera coverage off campus, increasing university police staffing and evaluating lighting in off-campus neighborhoods.
Ohio State recently announced it would invest $20 million over the next decade to fund campus safety measures.
View CommentsSours: https://www.dispatch.com/story/news/education/2021/10/05/ohio-state-safety-most-campus-crime-down-2020-rape-reports-up/5995883001/
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We carry out our mission to the university committed to these values:
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In everything we do, Communication, Cooperation, and Collaboration.
The Ohio State University Police Division has accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), confirming that OSUPD is meeting internationally recognized best practices of law enforcement agency standards. CALEA assessed the OSUPD on its programs and standards developed specifically for the college/university environment.
The Ohio State University Police Division has obtained Ohio Collaborative Law Enforcement certification, formulated to improve community-police relations. OSUPD is meeting State of Ohio standards on bias-free policing, telecommunicator training, body-worn cameras, use of force, use of deadly force, agency employee recruitment and hiring, and community engagement.
Joint patrol began in 2008 as part of a mutual aid agreement between The Ohio State University Police Division (OSUPD) and the Columbus Division of Police (CPD), which allows OSUPD officers to have jurisdiction off university property in limited circumstances. The mutual aid agreement also reinforces the understanding that OSUPD and CPD will share crime related information in an effort to investigate crimes, further inform the campus community of potential threats, and provide support services to students in need. As part of the joint patrol provision of the mutual aid agreement, OSUPD can designate a police officer to be partnered with a CPD officer to patrol and respond to the immediate off-campus area where many of our students live. Thus far, when staffing has allowed, the joint patrol program has generally consisted of one OSUPD officer working in that capacity with one CPD officer as their year-round assignment for their normal work week during the evening hours. In the future, OSUPD hopes to expand the program to provide nearly 24/7 coverage so an OSUPD officer is available to assist CPD officers already assigned to the university district on more than one shift. Our top priority is the safety of our campus community and we understand a majority of our students live in the immediate off-campus area. The OSUPD officer involved in joint-patrol acts as a liaison to the university, allowing OSUPD to provide additional resources to our students.
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