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Campus Cyberstalking, Drug Arrests Up Last Year, Robberies Down

BU releases annual Clery Act—mandated crime report wrap-up

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Stalking and drug-related arrests, the latter mostly on the Medical Campus, spiked at BU last year, while the number of thefts plunged, according to the University’s 2018 Security and Fire Safety Report.

Stalking and drug bust incidents on the three campuses totaled 30 and 118 respectively, up from 22 and 55 the previous year, according to the report, mandated each year by the federal Clery Act and submitted annually to the federal Department of Education.

With theft the most commonly reported infraction at BU, the University saw fewer robberies and burglaries in 2017 than the year before—30 versus 50. The most frequently stolen items were laptops, bicycles, delivered packages, and clothing, according to the Boston University Police Department (BUPD).

Last year’s statistics included crimes committed on the Fenway Campus, acquired with the merger of the University with Wheelock College in June, creating the BU Wheelock College of Education and Human Development. The campus’ inclusion added one stalking incident and one liquor law referral to the numbers, says BUPD Lieutenant Daniel Healy.

“It is difficult to explain causation” for the changing crime numbers, Healy says, noting that one explanation for the stalking incidents is heavy use of social media, as cyberstalking was involved in most of them.

As for drug violations, Boston Medical Center is on the Medical Campus, and it has many substance abuse treatment programs, attracting patients who “legitimately want to get help,” but who still account for most of the arrests (as opposed to BU affiliates), he says.

Also, “Under Clery, arrest stats count any physical arrest or any citation or summons into court. Many of the individuals are actually not arrested, but rather brought into court by the summons process. If people are found by our officers violating the drug laws,” Healy says, “they will find themselves in court. BU police work very closely with Boston police and do coordinated patrols” near the Medical Campus.

In other statistics, forcible fondlings last year rose to 12 from 9 the year before. Aggravated assaults dropped, from 37 to 31, as did liquor-related arrests, from 42 to 31. That latter statistic continued a downward trend due to fewer arrests on the Charles River Campus. Rapes totaled 16 last year, the same number as in 2016.

According to the report,  the stats it contains cover crimes that “occur on campus, on locations that are contiguous to the campus, and buildings or properties that are either owned or controlled by a campus affiliated entity,” including recognized student organizations.

This year’s report notes that there were five fires on the Charles River Campus last year, down from a dozen the prior year. All were minor and did not involve injuries, Healy says.

BU community members are urged to report promptly any crime or emergency to the BUPD (see the list of public safety numbers below). “We also want to be transparent about crimes that do occur,” Healy says, “which is why we ask every member of our community to sign up for BU Alerts and to read the ones we send.”

Students needing help for stalking, domestic violence, or dating violence can contact the Sexual Assault Response & Prevention Center, 930 Commonwealth Ave., at 617-353-SARP (7277) or by email to sarp@bu.edu. All services are free and information is kept confidential. In urgent situations, students can also seek help at Student Health Services Behavioral Medicine, at 617-353-3569. University employees who experience stalking, domestic violence, and dating violence can contact the Faculty & Staff Assistance office, at 617-353-5381 or by email to sao@bu.edu. Students and staff can call the Boston University Police, at 617-353-2121, or Medical Campus Public Safety, at 617-414-4444.

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Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

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