UMPD releases Annual Security and Fire Safety Reports

A dive into UMPD’s process in gathering crime statistics

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Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian (2016)

By Jack Underhill, Assistant News Editor

On Sept. 30, the University of Massachusetts Police Department circulated an email to the UMass community providing both the Annual Security and Fire Safety reports for 2021. The email indicated that the reports provide “important information about safety and security.”

The 71-page Annual Security Report provides statistics from 2019 to 2021 concerning reported crimes that occurred both on and off campus. According to the report, the document “also includes institutional policies concerning campus safety, such as policies concerning alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters.”

UMPD is required to report these crimes under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act. The act, under the Department of Education, requires that universities report campus crime data and outline policies concerning campus safety, according to their website.

The 2021 Campus Fire Safety Right to Know Report presents statistics on fire related incidents occurring in on-campus student housing from 2019 t0 2021. The document outlines where the fires occurred, the number of injuries and the value of property damage. The document also includes descriptions of fire protection equipment in each residential facility and instruction on fire drill procedures.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act, enacted in 2008, requires “colleges and universities to report fire safety information to the U.S. Department of Education and to make Annual Fire Safety Reports available to the public and the campus community,” according to the document.

Recorded fire incidents in residential facilities can be found on page six of the 2021 Annual Fire Safety Report. Although very few incidents occurred over the past three years, one instance in 2021 of a fire pump controller panel catching fire resulted in around $48,000 worth of damage.

Criminal Offenses and Crime Statistics can be found on page 60 of the security report. Depicted below are some of the crimes recorded in the document.

Rape On-Campus 19 3 19
Non-Campus 4 0 0
Public Property 0 0 0
TOTAL 23 3 19
Residence Hall 15 3 12
Fondling On-Campus 11 4 16
Non-Campus 0 0 0
Public Property 0 0 0
TOTAL 11 4 16
Residence Hall 10 4 10
Burglary On-Campus 8 5 2
Non-Campus 0 1 2
Public Property 0 0 0
TOTAL 8 6 4
Residence Hall 3 1 1
Domestic Violence On-Campus 4 5 3
Non-Campus 0 0 1
Public Property 0 0 0
TOTAL 4 5 4
Residence Hall 3 4 3

UMPD Deputy Chief Ian Cyr noted the influence of COVID-19 on crimes recorded in 2020 caused incident to decrease because “our community was gone; we weren’t on campus.”

Since UMass properties extend past the physical campus, reportable crimes can be recorded in properties that UMass owns in the town of Hadley, Springfield, Boston and Waltham. “The Cleary reportable incidents also extend to areas away from the physical campus that the university in essence does business in,” Cyr said.

UMass’s wide range of owned land warrants UMPD to communicate with different departments in obtaining these crime statistics. The report states that UMPD will often work with the Amherst Police Department and Hadley Police Department “on investigations that may cross jurisdictional boundaries.”

For example, the security report indicates that fraternity and sorority residences are monitored and recorded by the Amherst Police Department because they are considered “Non-Campus” locations.

“Every year at the end of the summer, we put out a request for those departments to provide us with information on reports that they have taken for those crimes,” Cyr said.

Not all recorded sexual violence cases are reported to the police department, so University Health Services (UHS) and the Center for Women and Community (CWC) provide records of reportable crimes. Cyr noted that UMPD works with a civilian advocate from the CWC who helps people navigate the process of reporting these types of events.

Cyr indicates that nothing was out of the ordinary regarding the statistics for 2021 in comparison to previous years. “There’s really not much between those years that jumped out at me,” Cyr said.

However, Cyr recognizes the importance of addressing sexual violence on campus. “Those numbers are always of concern for the UMass police in that the number one is too many.”

Statistics from other colleges around the Northeast are not compared, and Cyr says that there is difficulty comparing crimes within the UMass schools themselves.

“There’s so many variables that go in to really make those comparisons,” Cyr explained. “You know, kind of apples to oranges. I mean, when you look at the size of the Amherst campus and the location you know, we’re just far and away more populated than the other campuses.”

With the higher crime rate in Lowell compared to Amherst, Cyr explains it as a difference in location. “They may have certain increases in certain reportable crimes that we might not based on where they are geographically located.”

“We’re proud that we are able to put it out to the campus community and make sure that we’re transparent with what’s happening so that you as a current student are aware of the environment that you’re navigating on a daily basis,” Cyr said.

Jack Underhill can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @JackUnderhill16.