Many Types of Crime Fell Last Year across BU, but Theft Remains a Problem
BU releases annual, mandated Clery Act crime report
An array of reported crimes fell on Boston University’s Medical Campus in 2021, from robberies and burglaries to aggravated assaults, domestic violence incidents, and drug violations, according to the BU’s latest Security and Fire Safety Report.
On the Charles River Campus, burglaries fell by half from 2020 to 2021. Just 8 burglaries were reported, the report says, though stalkings jumped to 17 in 2021 from 7 in the previous year.
And the crime that continues to be the most reported? Theft, usually of unattended or unsecured possessions.
The annual security summary covers crimes reported to the Boston University Police Department (BUPD) on BU campuses, adjacent public property, and off-campus property owned or controlled by the University. The report is required of universities under the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. Fenway Campus statistics are included in the CRC’s statistics.
BUPD Chief Kelly Nee tells BU Today that the falling crime stats likely reflect the lingering effects last year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The onset of the pandemic in 2020 had an impact on crime, with overall crime numbers falling off significantly due in large part to a depopulated campus,” Nee says. “The pandemic extended into 2021, and while the BU campus repopulated, we continued to see fewer crimes reported. It’s difficult for us to pinpoint with certainty, but we see most crimes trending down, most probably due to the pandemic lingering into 2021.
“Although our crime statistics are trending downward,” Nee adds, addressing students, “always be mindful of your safety, and I encourage you to call or text police or public safety [authorities] if you ever need to report anything that feels unsafe.” (Find contact information below.)
For students who want to protect themselves against the most prevalent crimes, like theft, simple steps go a long way. Use locks. Don’t walk away from laptops and phones.
“The number one reported crime on campus is theft, usually of unattended and unsecured personal property,” ” Nee says. “Laptops, bicycles, delivered packages, and some clothing are the primary objects stolen.”
The BUPD offers these tips to avoid becoming a victim of theft or other crimes:
- Lock your room door when you are asleep or out of the room, even for a few minutes.
- Don’t leave personal property unattended anywhere that has public access, such as offices, gyms, libraries, cafeterias, classrooms, and the like.
- Always be aware of your surroundings, whether on or off campus.
- If possible, walk with friends when out at night; otherwise use Scarlet Safewalk/Street Team (617-353-4877).
- Report any suspicious activity or persons immediately to the Boston University Police Department or the Medical Campus Public Safety Department. Do not assume they are harmless; trust your feelings.
There were 11 reported fires on the Charles River and Fenway Campuses last year, up from 5 in 2020. Only one was reported on the Medical Campus, breaking a four-year fire-free streak.
Students who need 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 at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 at email@example.com. Students and staff can call the Boston University Police Department, at 617-353-2121, or Medical Campus’ Public Safety Department, at 617-358-4444.