The latest Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, otherwise known as the Clery Report, showed an increase in reported sexual assaults and robberies, along with an increase in alcohol law violations last year.
The Clery Report, which was sent out to the Knox campus on Sunday, Sept. 30, includes statistics from the last calendar year, in this case 2017, compared with statistics from the last two years. It also reports the college’s current policies in place for reporting crimes and definitions of crimes.
Rapes, which had a total of four reported in 2016, increased to 10 total in 2017. However, five of those did not occur in 2017: one occurred in 2014, two occurred in 2015 and two occurred in 2016. Of the four reported in 2016, two occurred in previous years.
“One report is too many and is of concern to us. However, it’s not very realistic to think that we’re never going to have reports regarding sexual assault or rapes,” Mark Welker, director of Campus Safety said. “I think that at the Knox level, and even now at the social level, we’ve done a good job of encouraging people to report.”
According to Welker, most of the rapes reported on campus are not perpetrated by strangers.
“They tend to be two people that know each other,” he said. “They may have had a relationship of some kind, or not.”
Robberies increased from zero in the past two years to three in 2017. Campus Safety cited the three robberies as one in September of 2017 where a student’s phone was robbed in front of Seymour Union, one in February where an armed robber demanded money from a student near the Knosher Bowl and one in October where a student was attacked by a known non-student near the Townhouses.
Burglaries, on the other hand, decreased from 15 to three. A burglary happens in a place of residence while a robbery happens to an individual.
Welker says that Campus Safety does not read too far into the year-over-year changes in statistics, stating that crime statistics are hard to determine and to predict.
“What we tend to do is not focus too much on just that year, unless there’s something to it, and we tend to look more toward trending over the course of three, four years,” Welker said. “So we can develop a strategy with dealing with something, depending on what that category is.”
However, the large decrease in drug law violations — from 39 in 2016 to 14 in 2017 — can be attributed to the state of Illinois changing possession of 10 grams or less of weed to a civil law violation. Before, it was considered a Class B misdemeanor.
Liquor law violations, on the other hand, increased from 42 in 2016 to 58 in 2017. Welker credits this to the hiring of more RAs, who are receiving more training than usual.
Welker encourages students to be aware and on guard when on campus.
“Take the normal precautions you would usually take,” he said. “We don’t have a bubble here around Knox College, safe as it may feel, and most of the time that’s absolutely true. Always keep your guard up and do things as you would do when you’re at home, or at the mall, or whatever.”