NIU releases annual Campus Safety and Security Report

NIU Police Chief Thomas Phillips
NIU Police Chief Thomas Phillips

Northern Illinois University has released its 2015-16 Annual Campus Safety and Security Report.

The report includes information regarding campus security procedures, personal and fire safety data, crime prevention, emergency response procedures and crime data for the last three years.

Every post-secondary institution in the country is required to file the report annually by Oct. 1 in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.

The report is available online at clery.niu.edu, or by contacting the NIU Department of Police and Public Safety at (815) 753-9628 to receive a hard copy. The Annual Fire Safety Report is also available at clery.niu.edu or by contacting the Environmental Health & Safety Department at (815) 753-0404 to receive a hard copy.

Reviewing the categories of crimes included in the report, NIU Chief of Police Thomas Phillips said that many of the statistics suggest that procedural changes made in recent years may be helping to reduce some types of crime.

For instance, the number of violations and judicial referrals related to liquor laws declined, which may be attributed to improved alcohol awareness and education done by the university and by his department as part of its Community Policing efforts

In other categories, the number of drug law violations on and around campus more than doubled (from 54 in 2013 to 113 in 2014), while robberies dropped from six in 2013, to just one in 2014, a decrease of 85 percent. Phillips attributes the change in these categories to the increase in cooperative efforts between NIU Police and DeKalb Police to crack down violent crime and illegal drug use throughout the city.

NIU President Doug Baker talks to members of the VAWA Implementation Committee.
NIU President Doug Baker addresses the VAWA Implementation Committee.

“Those types of crimes have been a point of emphasis, so we expected those numbers to change, which says to me that increased enforcement is paying dividends in many ways,” Phillips said.

Similarly, Phillips is hopeful that a slight increase in the reporting of forcible sex offenses (from 12 in 2013 to 15 in 2014) might be attributable to the university’s efforts to bring attention to the issue of violence toward women.

“We know that historically, sex crimes are under reported and we are working to change that,” Phillips said. “President Baker’s Violence Against Women Act Task Force has been a collaborative effort across the university and DeKalb to increase awareness of the support services available to the victims of these crimes. We want to encourage them to step forward so that we can provide them the care they need and pursue the perpetrators.”

As statistics are posted around the country, Phillips expects that NIU’s numbers will remain on par with those of similar universities across the country. However, he said that his department uses the data to make adjustments.

“Our department is a big believer in using crime data to determine how to use our resources to best protect the campus community,” Phillips said. “The information in this report provides some valuable insights, but it is also important to note that, fortunately, the incidence of most of these crimes is so small compared to the total size of our community, that to find meaningful trends, you often have to dig far below the surface of what is in those tables.”

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