Keeping up with campus crime
Liquor law enforcement, reported sexual assault cases increased last year
GVL/Kevin Sielaff GVPD officer Minh Lien poses outside his patrol car Sept. 13.
When Brandon DeHaan, captain of the Grand Valley State University Police department, looks through his calendar for September, one responsibility stands out: the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.
DeHaan also works as the Clery compliance officer at GVSU.
The Annual Security and Fire Safety Report is the result of over 50 people from different departments at the university working together to create a comprehensive look at crime.
In order to comply with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act and the Higher Education Opportunity Act, an overview of university campus security and safety resources, protocols, policies and procedures is required to be released to students, faculty and community members, as well as administrators.
"This is the way that we share with the community what we do in instance of crime and where we are seeing issues," DeHaan said.
Looking at this year's report, the numbers that stand out the most are sexual assault numbers and liquor law enforcement.
In 2013, there were four instances of reported sexual offenses, while in 2014, there were 13 instances reported.
"We do not think that there is an increase of sexual assaults going on at GVSU," DeHaan said. "Rather, there is an increase in the amount of reporting. The university is working hard to change the paradigm around sexual assault and to increase education on how to report instances and get the needed resources and I think we are seeing the result of this through these numbers."
This year, the Clery report included a change in reporting requirements for sexual offenses including definitions for different kinds of assault including fondling, rape and incest. The report also looks at dating violence, domestic violence and stalking.
"We want to make everything as clear as possible for those looking for resources and help," DeHaan said. "That is one of the goals of the report."
In an effort to create an easier process for student safety, the GVSU website now includes a Victim’s Rights and Options page. The page gives a description of what an advocate is, what an advocate does and how to reach a representative advocate. One of the features of this page that will have the most impact is the frequently asked questions section, DeHaan said.
“This is an easily accessible way to get information on options to handle a situation through the police station or through other sources such as the Women’s Center,” DeHaan said.
Liquor law enforcement has also seen a slight increase throughout the year with 200 arrests being made compared to the 134 arrests the previous year by law officials. This can most likely be attributed to the Youth Alcohol Enforcement grant the GVSU police department received this past year.
“We have increased patrol and therefore, we see these results,” DeHaan said.
The Annual Security and Fire Safety Report is available online at www.gvsu.edu. For those interested in a printed copy, contact the Department of Public Safety Services at (616) 331-3255.
The Department of Public Safety Services also maintains a daily crime log for the Allendale Campus. To view the log, visit the Department of Public Safety Services office in the facilities services building. A printed copy is available upon request by contacting GVSU Public Safety Services at (616) 331-3255.
The Victim's Rights and Options page can be found at www.gvsu.edu/vro.