Catching up on campus crime

Forcible sex offenses dramatically increased

Forcible sex offenses have quadrupled and the first aggravated assault since 2009 was reported, according to FSU’s annual security and fire safety report, which organized the 195 total offenses reported in 2011.

The report, released by Ferris Department of Public Safety on Sept. 25, details overall statistics for reported crimes in 2011. The university is required by the Clery Act, the federal law that regulates the procedures for reporting collegiate crimes, to report annual criminal statistics to students and employees.

The crimes recorded in the report include incidents that occurred on campus, in campus housing units owned by Ferris, on public property within reasonable geographic area of Ferris and non-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by a recognized student organization such as fraternity houses.

Forcible sex offenses in 2011 alone nearly outnumbered the total from the past three years combined. DPS received eight reports last year after receiving nine reports total in the previous three years. A forcible sex offense is defined as any sexual assault against a person’s will, according to Julie Courtney, DPS record specialist and Clery reporter.

“It’s not what you would think of as a typical rape,” Courtney said. “Almost all the incidents involved acquaintances, not strangers. People hook up and plan on watching TV. Then they have a little too much to drink and things go too far.”

The only offense not committed by an acquaintance occurred at a hockey game where an individual was improperly touched, according to Captain Jim Cook of Ferris DPS.

Cook attributed the increase in forcible sex offenses to an increase of awareness on campus.

Mandatory reporting requirements are in place for university employees including administrators, professors, coaches, advisors and residence hall staff.

“There’s more reporting of unwanted sexual conduct,” he said.

Seven of the reported incidents occurred in campus student residences. Cook wants to encourage individuals to not put themselves in positions where they are vulnerable.

The report included Ferris’ first aggravated assault incident since 2009. That year, five incidents were reported. According to Cook, the person involved was identified and arrested. “Anytime you have a mix of 10,000 people with different viewpoints a fight could occur,” Cook said. “It gets reported as aggravated assault if extensive injury occurs.”

An overwhelming amount of the crimes were alcohol and drug violations. Liquor law violations are comprised of open intoxicant and Minor In Possession citations.

In 2011, there were 137 reported liquor law violations, up from 133 violations in 2010. Of the 137 violations, 47 occurred in campus student housing, 40 on public property and three at non-campus locations. Additionally, there were 38 drug law violations.

“It’s just an unfortunate fact of life that minors are going to consume alcohol on a college campus,” Cook said.

Notably, there were 313 disciplinary referrals for alcohol violations, up from 259 referrals in 2010. Disciplinary referrals for drug violations saw a similar increase with 94 referrals in 2011 compared to 63 in 2010.

The entire report has been analyzed by DPS, according to Cook.

“If there are any big changes in the report, we determine if there’s an environmental factor we can control,” he said. “We try to examine differences and what caused them to work on it in the future.”

Cook and Courtney agreed that no changes stood out on this year’s report.

“We have a very safe environment for students to be educated and grow as people,” Cook said. “People will be people. We can’t stop every crime from occurring, but we do identify the people responsible and let the courts deal with it from there.”

The report is currently available online and can be found at