By Michael Yu, Sept. 28, 2021

Cal Poly Pomona released its annual security report on Sept. 15, sharing statistics on crimes committed on campus the last year before the university’s shift to virtual instruction. The report also advises campus community members on university resources where they can seek help and how to prevent further crimes.

The security report contains crime statistics on and around the campus from 2018 to 2020. It contains some troubling statistics such as four rape cases, 13 burglaries and five motor vehicle thefts occurring in 2020. There were also 28 burglaries in 2019, the highest recorded since 2006.

Source: U.S. Department of Education Campus Safety and Security (Nicolas Hernandez | The Poly Post)

Interim Police Chief David Hall has been changing how the police force operates to combat the crime on campus, hoping to foster cooperation between officers and the campus community.

“We are making the shift toward community-based policing, where officers will engage with the campus community at every opportunity,” said Hall. “What we are striving for is to gain the trust of the community by having the community meet our officers and eventually feel comfortable talking with them.”

While Cal Poly Pomona’s on-campus criminal offenses were otherwise in line with nearby campuses, its 28 burglaries in 2019 — the last year before the pandemic — put its total number of criminal offenses at 47, according to U.S. Department of Education Campus Safety and Security data. This resulted in an on-campus criminal offenses per enrollment rate of 0.17%, a higher rate than nearby Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Los Angeles and Cal State San Bernardino with rates of 0.03%, 0.06% and 0.08%, respectively.

For Violence Against Women Act offenses, Cal Poly Pomona had both the lowest sum of on-campus offenses at 13 in 2019 and the lowest rate per enrollment of those nearby CSU campuses at 0.05%.

With 39 liquor law violations, 31 drug law violations, and one count of illegal weapons possession, Cal Poly Pomona possessed the highest disciplinary actions rate per enrollment of those nearby campuses at 0.25%, just higher than Fullerton’s rate of 0.24%.

The process to create the annual security report is a lengthy one which requires collaboration from several campus offices and organizations. Clery Compliance Analyst Kris Surber explained the steps required to collect the data for the report.

“It’s a really collaborative effort requiring really active engagement and participation from a wide range of campus partners like the Village, Housing, Title IX, The Wellness Center and ASI,” said Surber. “We also work with outside law enforcement agencies such as the Pomona Police Department and LA County Sheriff’s Department to collect outside crime statistics.”

In order to ensure the data is accurate, Surber shared that monthly meetings are held with University Housing Services, The University Village, the Office of Student Conduct and Integrity, UPD and Title IX to conduct a case review of the crimes and review collected data.

The release of the annual report is legally mandated by the federal Jeanne Clery Act passed in 1998. The act is named after Jeanne Clery, a freshman at Leigh University who was raped and murdered in her residence bedroom. The law was enacted to make university campuses safer and requires colleges and universities to report crime data, provide support to victims and make their plans to improve safety public in the form of an annual report.

The crimes recorded in the report include criminal offenses, hate crimes, Violence Against Women Act offenses and arrests and referrals for disciplinary action.

Criminal offenses include crimes such as manslaughter and sexual assault, while hate crimes are crimes such as larceny or vandalism of property. Crimes addressed through the VAWA include domestic violence and stalking. Arrests and referrals for disciplinary action refer to instances when a member of the campus community brings an illegal item such as drugs or a weapon and will either be arrested or given a referral.

“These reports bring a level of transparency and awareness to the campus,” said Interim Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Megan Stang. “I hope people can digest the report and use the information inside it to be proactive toward stopping crime.”

After such a tumultuous online year, many students may feel uneasy about returning to campus and facing the challenges that come with being on campus.

“As the CPP community comes back to campus, people will be a little nervous between COVID and all the things going on in the world. Information is a good thing to have right now and will help people feel safer,” said Stang.

To address future crime on campus, including theft of catalytic convertors as UPD warned last week, Hall urged vigilance and collaboration from the campus community. He added that effective Oct. 3, the structure of UPD would change to ensure 24/7 patrolling.

The campus community can learn more about CPP’s crime statistics in the Annual Security Report posted online.

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