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SMC security officials release crime statistics

Alicia Smith | Thursday, October 7, 2010

Crime at Saint Mary’s College continued to stay low last year, according to an annual report released by the College’s security department Tuesday.

“Crime statistics have remained consistently low on our campus over the years, with only slight fluctuations up and down in various categories,” David Gariepy, director of security, said. “When you have consistently low statistics, any fluctuation up or down may, by percentage, look significant.

“The reality is that crime at Saint Mary’s College is very low.”

The 2009 crime and fire statistical report included incidents of sexual assault, burglaries, alcohol and drug violations and fire.

There were three incidents of sexual assault during 2009. Two of the assaults took place within the residence halls on campus, while the third took place on public property, according to the report.

Of these sexual assaults, one was forcible rape, and the others were classified as forcible fondling.

This marks a slight increase from previous years. The report stated that one sexual assault incident, which took place within a residence hall and was classified as forcible fondling, occurred in 2008. There were no sexual assaults in 2007.

The report also stated that there were nine burglaries on campus, five of which took place within the resident halls, in 2009.

There was one burglary in a non-campus building in 2008. There were four burglaries on campus, two of which were in residence halls, in 2007.

Gariepy said students could help prevent crime by paying attention to their surroundings. He also encouraged students to make “safe choices in all activities,” which entails locking doors and vehicles, reporting suspicious or criminal activity and watching out for friends.

The report also indicated 35 alcohol violations that led to referrals within the residence halls. An additional six incidents occurred on campus, but did not take place within the dormitories. There was only one alcohol related arrest located on public property in 2009.

There was also one drug violation, which led to a referral within the residence halls.

The College’s security department helps to prevent crime by patrolling campus 24 hours per day. It also provides safe transportation for students and monitors the security and fire systems regularly, Gariepy said.

He also said the College attempts to improve safety on campus each year.

This academic year, the Belles Against Violence Office was created to enhance campus security. Swipe card access was added to Angela Athletic Facility and security cameras were added to the Angela parking lot.

Upgrades were also made to the fire system, he said.

In 2009, there were not any incidents of the following: illegal weapons violations, drug arrests, motor vehicle theft, aggravated assault, robbery, criminal homicide and non-forcible sex offenses.

“I believe Saint Mary’s College has historically been a safe campus, but I also know that bad things can and do happen in the safest of places,” Gariepy said. “It is important for us all to understand that dangerous incidents, both natural and manmade, can happen at any time.”

Gariepy encouraged students to be familiar with the College’s “All Hazards” plan and to have a personal plan for survival if an emergency situation should arise.

“Our best protection from harm is a mental alertness and preparedness,” he said.

According to the fire statistical report, there was only one instance of fire in 2009. The fire took place in Holy Cross Hall on Dec. 4 and was classified as arson.

To view the crime report visit http://www3.saintmarys.edu/campus-safety/crime-statistics. To view the fire report visit http://www3.saintmarys.edu/campus-safety/fire-equipment-fire-drill-matrix.