Increased reports of criminal damage, a decrease in theft and an increase in liquor and drug violations were a few of the figures released in the Murray State Police Department’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.
Numbers were compared from the 2010, 2011 and 2012 academic years in the report released Feb. 5.
Other universities, such as Western Kentucky University, release safety reports earlier. Western Kentucky released its annual security report in October 2013 for 2009-12.
Interim President Tim Miller said the report is essential to having a safe campus.
“It is important for students, faculty and staff to be aware of what the reports says so everyone can be informed and know how to respond in a bad situation,” Miller said.
The report is a requirement of the Crime and Awareness and Campus Safety Act of 1990, which is also known as the Clery Act.
The act requires all postsecondary institutions participating in the Higher Education Act of 1965 student financial assistance programs to disclose campus crime statistics and security information.
Robert Bringhurst, captain of operations at Public Safety and Emergency Management, said the annual report contains safety and security policy statements that is released to students and University employees.
He said compiling the data for the report is a campus-wide responsibility.
Bringhurst said the Clery Act requires that information be collected from the campus police department, other local law enforcement agencies and campus security authorities as well.
Campus security authorities are defined as “an official of an institution who has significant responsibility for student and campus activities, including, but not limited to, student housing, student discipline and campus judicial proceedings.”
Some campus security authorities include University administrators, Student Affairs staff members, college heads, athletic directors and coaches, housing staff members and faculty advisers to student organizations.
Perhaps the largest increase in the report was the number of cases of criminal damage reported, with 50 cases in 2012, compared to three in 2011 and seven in 2010.
Bringhurst said this is due to the increased awareness on the requirements for reporting these incidents.
Liquor violations on campus reported by non-law enforcement increased as well. In 2012, 31 cases were reported, compared to seven in 2010 and six in 2010.
Miller said increase in these numbers could be due to alcohol now being sold in Murray.
Residential college staff members report many of these alcohol violations, Bringhurst said.
One statistic that decreased was reports of thefts on campus. There were 99 reports in 2012, compared to more than 130 reports in 2011 and 2010.
“Students are more aware of the danger of leaving their property unattended,” Bringhurst said.
Bringhurst said it is hard to predict why there were such increases and decreases in the crime that was reported.
Miller said it is important for students, parents, faculty and staff to read the annual campus safety report so they know who to contact and the procedures to follow in an unsafe situation on campus.
Said Miller: “If you look at the report and know the services and how to react in certain situations then we can all have a safer campus.”
Story by Rebecca Walter, Staff writer