This week, UConn has published two reports to address criminal activity and sexual violence and establish a method of response to these issues and more, according to UConn Today. The Clery Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, put together by the UConn Police Department, and a second report by the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) both encourage the need for more crime data and policies to prevent these criminal violations from continuing. This is imperative for ensuring the safety of UConn’s campus and is a positive step forward for the university as a whole.
With the Clery Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, UConn, along with all other American universities, must report data about certain crimes that are specified in the Clery Act. These include violations of the Violence Against Women Act, hate crimes, and drug and alcohol violations. The Clery report, which is put together by the UConn Police Department, also reviews safety policies and prevention programs on campus. The OIE’s report includes a required outline of data and policies related to sexual assault, stalking and partner violence and can includes crimes that did not occur on UConn property.
The new policies encourage the involvement of “campus security authorities” as well as UConn Police in interacting with students who have been victims of crimes. These authorities are hired by the university as resident assistants, coaches and advisors who have gone through training programs on how to legally report crimes. This can increase the involvement of advisors with whom students might feel more comfortable talking about crimes and prepare those advisors to participate in the criminal process to ensure that students are safe.
The reports also emphasize the importance of other bystander programs that increase awareness of sexual violence and other crimes so that students can get involved to prevent crimes. The Protect Our Pack program, for example, is presented to all freshman during their Week of Welcome.
Some crimes have been dropping on UConn’s campus over the past few years. For example, while there were 38 sexual assaults reported in 2015, the year 2016 only saw 24 cases. However, this is still too many. It is crucial that these crimes be prevented and addressed, and the new safety report initiatives will help aid this process. The reports prove that UConn knows what needs to be done; now the university must effectively implement these initiatives.