Public Safety annual safety and security report finds decrease in crime overall, increase in fire incidents
The report paid close attention to sexual assault reporting and noted that some residence halls did not have carbon monoxide detectors.
Public Safety’s annual fire safety and security report, which spans the last three years and includes statistics about crime and fire rates on campus, shows an overall decrease in crime and an increase in fire incidents.
According to the report’s crime statistics table, incidents of crime on campus have decreased over the past three years, with the exception of liquor-related referrals for disciplinary action, which have increased since 2017. The categories listed in the chart include homicide, sexual violence, aggravated assault, burglary, robbery, motor vehicle theft, arson, dating and domestic violence, stalking and violations related to liquor and drugs or weapons, almost all of which decreased or remained stable across all three years encompassed in the report.
Two incidents of aggravated assault took place in 2018, compared to five in 2017 and three in 2016. Two incidents of burglary — defined as the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft — were reported in 2018, as opposed to five in 2017 and three in 2016.
Some categories showed marked differences in crime rates compared to previous years. One case of dating violence was reported in 2018, as opposed to 12 during the previous year. There were no reported incidents of rape in 2018, compared to six incidents in 2016 and one in 2017. Additionally, no arrests took place related to liquor, drug or weapons violations over the last three years, with the exception of one weapons-related arrest in 2017, which took place on public property.
Referrals for disciplinary action related to liquor or drug violations were the most frequently reported incidents, all of which took place on campus, with the exception of four cases in 2018. In 2018, 161 liquor-related referrals were reported, compared to 119 referrals in 2017 and 210 referrals in 2016, and 30 drug-related referrals were reported in 2018, compared to 60 referrals in 2017 and 59 referrals in 2016.
Fire-related incidents in residence halls have increased over the past three years, according to the report’s fire statistics table. There were four reported fires in 2018, with two occurring in North Quad, one occurring in Massell Quad and one occurring in the Charles River apartments. Two reported fires occurred in 2017, one in North Quad and one in Rosenthal Quad. There were no reported incidents of fire in 2016. Most fires were caused by electrical appliances like a microwave or a heating pad, although one cause was reported as “cell phone” and another was reported as “poster,” with no explanatory details.
Massell Quad, Rosenthal Quad, the Foster Mods and Hassenfeld in East Quad are the only residential facilities without carbon monoxide detectors, according to the report’s Student Housing Facility Fire Safety Systems chart. All other facilities are equipped with them and all facilities have full sprinkler systems, Class A fire extinguishers and are subject to one annual fire evacuation drill. In an email provided to the Justice, Manager for Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing Matthew McPhee explained that those buildings without carbon monoxide detectors use either "Steam or Electric heat and/or hot water," and only dorms with "fuel-burning" appliances require carbon monoxide detectors.
A lengthy section of the report focuses on sexual violence and the process of reporting, investigation and resolution. According to the report, it is University policy that anyone who reports an incident of sexual violence will receive a written explanation of their rights and options, is guaranteed immediate physical protection and transportation to medical assistance and is entitled to accomodations to their “academic, living, transportation and/or working situation” in order to provide a safe environment.
The report details the formal and informal resolution processes following reports of sexual violence. Informal resolution may include “conflict resolution, mediation, restorative justice, facilitated conversations, counseling, training and/or educational conversations or projects.” The formal resolution process consists of six consecutive steps: initiating complaint, notice to responding party, investigation, investigative report and review, determination of responsibility and assignment of sanctions and lastly, appeals.
According to the report, there are a number of campus programs designed to address safety and security. These include the Brandeis Emergency Notification System, which issues text, email and voice-message notifications in the event of an emergency; the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, intended to prepare for and mitigate disasters in accordance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines; and the Department of Student Rights and Community Standards, a body which “provides education and outreach efforts regarding alcohol and other drug use.”
The report complies with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security and Crime Statistics Act of 1990, a consumer protection law requiring federally funded universities to provide students and employees with an annual report detailing campus crime and efforts to improve campus safety. The report compiles information provided by Public Safety, local law enforcement and other Brandeis offices such as the Division of Student Affairs and the Department of Community Living.
— Clarification: This article was update to clarify that the dorms that do not have carbon monoxide detectors do not need those detectors because they use steam or electric heating, rather than fuel-burning appliances.