Kip Lynch ’22
In an email sent to the Trinity College community on Friday, Dec. 18, Director of Campus Safety Brian Heavren announced the release of the Annual Security Report and Annual Fire Safety Report as required by federal law.
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act), in addition to mandating that colleges disclose incidents on or adjacent to campus through an annual report and crime logs, requires timely community warnings when certain incidents occur (e.g., shootings). Along with crime statistics for the three previous calendar years, the report also includes “institutional policies concerning campus safety, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual assault, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, and other matters.”
This year’s report revealed a sharp increase in aggravated assault, with 17 incidents occurring on public property and three off-campus. Of the 17, 11 were incidents involving paintballs with no serious injuries. The College recorded only five incidents of assault on public property in 2018 and two in 2017. In line with previous years, there was one incident of arson which, as in 2018 and 2017, occurred on campus.
While 2018 saw an increase in burglaries, 2019 saw slightly fewer reports relative to 2017, which saw six burglary incidents on campus. In 2019, there were five burglary incidents in student housing and in 2017 there were six.
There was also one incident of non-negligent murder/manslaughter in 2019 which, as the report notes, “did not involve members of the Trinity College community.” No incidents of negligent or non-negligent murder/manslaughter occurred in 2017 and 2018.
There were three instances of motor vehicle theft off-campus in 2019, in contrast to one on campus incident in 2018 and two in 2017. Robberies were consistent, with one on campus incident in 2019 and one incident on public property in 2017 and 2018.
Campus Safety reported a small decrease in occurences of forcible rape, with 11 reported on campus in 2019 in contrast to 12 in 2018 and 14 in 2017. However, there was an increase in fondling in 2019, with eight incidents on campus: five in student housing and four off-campus. In 2018, there were three fondling incidents on campus, zero in student housing, and one off-campus. Consistent with previous years, there were no incidents of non-forcible sexual offenses.
While 2017 recorded one incident of domestic violence on campus and in student housing, there were no incidents recorded in 2019 or 2018. There were two instances of dating violence on campus and in student housing as well as three incidents on public property in 2019. 2018 saw the same number of dating violence incidents on campus and in student housing while 2017 saw seven incidents on campus and five in student housing.
There was a sharp increase in stalking with five incidents on campus and two in student housing in contrast to 2018, which saw one incident on campus and two off-campus, and 2017, which saw three incidents on campus and one off campus.
Disciplinary actions for possession of alcohol increased to 61 in 2019, up from 46 in 2018. Both of these totals are significantly lower than in 2017, when Campus Safety issued 102 disciplinary actions. In November 2018, the College passed new medical and good samaritan amnesty policies around the use of drug and alcohol-related offenses. It was not immediately clear if these policies accounted for the difference in reported disciplinary actions in 2018 and 2019.
There was also a sharp decrease in drug violations because Connecticut decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis, with 15 disciplinary actions issued in 2019 in contrast to both 2018 and 2017 when Campus Safety discovered 71 drug violations.
The Office of Study Away reported two incidents of forcible sex offenses in 2019. It had previously reported zero incidents in 2017 and 2018. The reporting of crimes and safety issues by the Office of Study Away remains the subject of an ongoing, multi-part Tripod investigation.
The Tripod previously conducted a review of Clery Act compliance in a Mar. 2020 report. The Tripod separately summarized the 2019 Annual Fire Security and Annual Safety Report last October.
In the hate crimes category, there was one occurrence in September 2019 which was described as “destruction/damage vandalism to property based on race.” Campus Safety had previously reported one incident with a similar description in 2017 and 2018.
There was one incident of fire in on-campus housing, which occurred in June and was described as “unintentionally caused by cooking – stove.” No incident was reported in 2018 while 2017 saw three reported incidents, one of which was arson.
Heavren explained in the email that the “purpose of the annual report is to educate students, faculty, and staff about the crime risks in our community and to create an awareness of each individual’s responsibility to ensure that our behaviors facilitate a safe living and learning environment.” He further indicated that the College’s “greatest deterrent to campus crime is our sense of community and our willingness to watch out for each other.”