By Kelly Gilbert
Sacred Heart University’s Public Safety Department recently released the Federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure Act of Campus Crime and Fire Statistics, through email and in print to students, faculty and staff.
Less formally known as the campus crime report, it is released annually and documents the previous three years in regards to reported crimes and fires on campus, certain off campus buildings, as well as safety procedures and institutional policies.
From this most recent report, it is evident that liquor law violations steadily increased each year from 2013 to the present. With 441 liquor law violations in 2013, 11 more took place the following year in 2014, followed by the highest number of the three years in 2015, 679. Each of these documented violations took place within the Fairfield campus.
“I have seen with my own eyes many different alcohol violations over the past couple of years,” said senior and Residential Advisor Nick Zorbo. “I think the real scary issue is that students are binge drinking and that’s where we have noticed it gets dangerous. At Sacred Heart University we have a zero tolerance for drinking.”
A similar pattern is demonstrated within the report regarding drug law violations. Over the past three years there has been a noticeable increase, beginning in 2013 with 26 violations, followed by 38 in 2014 and finally 42 in 2015. Again, each of these violations had taken place within the Fairfield grounds.
“Public Safety and Residential Life staff take immediate and direct action to remove any prohibited items from university property,” said Paul Healy, Executive Director of Public Safety. “These positive efforts can show an increase in incidents reported, but are not reflective of the positive good works being promoted to stop students from violating code of conduct regulations.”
According to the crime report, burglaries on campus and on off-campus properties have continued to decrease over the past three years. With seven taking place in 2013, there were two less the following year, and by 2015, there was only a single burglary that was reported.
“The decrease in the number of campus residential burglaries can be attributed to the efforts of public safety to continually emphasize the importance of always keeping a residence door closed and not leaving the door propped open,” said Healy. “Additionally, public safety has deployed improved locking mechanisms with card swipe access, cameras in elevators and at entrances and exits for enhanced security.”
Also, there were a total of 52 documented fire drills occurring at various on campus residential dormitories from 2013-2015.
“In my experience as an RSA last year, on campus fire drills occur a lot. Students try to cook in the residence hall kitchens and it doesn’t always go as planned, or someone leaves a curling iron or hair straightener plugged in for too long, or someone is trying to learn how to do their laundry for the first time,” said junior Sarah Shirkey. “I never experienced a situation where there was anything more serious that caused the alarm to be sounded. Everyone was very cooperative with the RSA’s and thankfully there were no serious problems that resulted from any fire drill.”
There were a total of six campus fires that also occurred during that time period. Of the six fires there was never any injuries or deaths reported, however two of the cases resulted in less than $1,000 worth of damage being caused.
To assist in the continuous combat of criminal actions on campus, and further protect students, public safety promotes the use of the SHUSafe and Wear Safe mobile applications.
“We promote the use of the SHUSafe App or Wear Safe App that provide enhanced communication functions for personal safety or in the event of an emergency,” said Healy. “We encourage all university members to use these applications. All students should recognize their social responsibility to the university community to report any suspicious activity to public safety immediately.”