Penn State releases annual campus security report

L. Reidar Jensen
September 23, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State officials have released the 2014 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report for all Penn State campuses, well ahead of the Oct. 1 federal deadline. The 2014 report is available on the Web at http://www.clery.psu.edu/clery/security-reports/index.cfm and also were sent directly to faculty, staff and students via email.

The Clery Act is a federal law related to campus safety that requires colleges and universities to, among other things, collect and disclose information about crime on and near their respective campuses. Compliance is monitored by the U.S. Department of Education.

Among the data for University Park is a drop in “forcible sexual offenses,” from 63 in 2012 to 28 in 2013. Thirty-six of the 63 alleged forcible sex offenses reported in 2012 actually occurred in earlier years and a number of these allegations can be attributed to the crimes of convicted felon Jerry Sandusky. Under the Clery Act, crimes must be included in statistics in years in which they were reported. Eleven of the 30 forcible sex offenses reported in 2011 also were attributable to prior year offenses. Forcible sex offenses include everything from forcibly fondling a person to rape.

Gabriel Gates, the University’s Clery compliance manager, said additional Clery Act training for individuals at Penn State has led to greater awareness, including how to report crimes and the resources that the University may offer victims and witnesses of crime.

“As a result of our efforts, I have seen an improvement in the awareness levels of those who work and learn at Penn State every day. In fact, general awareness related to reporting a wide variety of crimes has increased at Penn State. Nationally, the issue of sexual assault on university campuses has come to the forefront, which is a good thing.”

Gates also said that nearly all other crimes listed in the report remained level or declined at University Park, including a drop in alcohol arrests from 834 in 2012 to 750 in 2013.

The report includes a rise in referrals of students to the Office of Student Conduct. This can be attributed a strengthening of policy surrounding adherence to the student code of conduct.

“Penn State’s campuses are safe, but the issues we face reflect those faced at other Universities and society. We always are working to find ways to make our campuses even safer, review policy and work to increase awareness,” said Tyrone Parham, chief of University Police at University Park.

Parham offered the following safety tips:

  • If you see it, report it.
  • If you are a victim, if you can, get to safety and then report it.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe, get to a safe place and call for help.
  • Look out for your friends and agree to leave social gathering together. Don't leave a social event with someone you just met.
  • Always get verbal consent from your partner.
  • Individuals need to be respectful of others. Anytime you are uncertain whether your partner is comfortable with your behavior, ask. “NO” means NO and “I’m not sure” means NO. Silence also means "NO."
  • Don’t assume you know what another person wants.
  • Don’t feel obligated to do anything you don’t want to do. “I don’t want to” always is a good enough reason.
  • If you choose to drink, drink responsibly. Be aware of how alcohol affects you. Drinking obviously impairs judgment and can make people vulnerable to crime or unable to care for themselves, but it also can make some individuals act in aggressive ways. Being under the influence is not a defense for committing sexual/physical assault.
  • Don't allow unescorted guests into residence halls. Residence halls are controlled by 24-hour electronic access.
  • Always lock your door.
  • Know the phone number for University Police. Students need to program 814-863-1111 into their cell phones.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention while walking. Call police if you notice suspicious or unusual behavior.

Penn State also offers myriad services to victims of crime, including the following options:

  • The Center for Women Students: 814-863-2027
  • Centre County Women's Resource Center: 1-877-234-5050 (24-hour hotline)
  • Counseling and Psychological Services: 814-863-0395
  • Student and Family Services: 814-863-4926, or the crisis line at 814-863-2020

For more information on resources, visit the Center for Women Students website at: http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/womenscenter/awareness/rapeandassault.shtml onlie.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 17, 2014