By Erin Leo
Sexual assault incidents have dominated the headlines recently, but the latest crime figures show that Stonehill remains a safe campus.
The Stonehill College Police Department just released the crime report for 2013 and it shows crime is much lower than it has been in previous years.
The number of thefts is down from nine in 2011 to only one in both 2012 and 2013. There have been no aggravated assaults since the two reported in 2011, and the number of sexual assaults reported went down from six in 2012 to three in 2013.
Lieutenant Catherine Farrington also noted that of the six sexual assaults reported in 2012, two were reported late.
“For sexual assaults last year we had six reported, but two were reported three years after the fact, so that made our numbers higher. Typically our sexual assault numbers are anywhere between two and five,” Farrington said.
“It can be hard to get across in a report, but when you look at 2013’s numbers, all of the reported events may not have actually occurred in 2013,” Police Chief Peter Carnes said.
Both Farrington and Carnes said the increase in reported sexual assaults on college campuses might have more to do with students feeling more comfortable in reporting the cases. Also, colleges are disclosing the information more often.
“I feel that we have always been transparent when we have gotten reports, but I also think there has been a lot more education and outreach in attempting to get students to feel comfortable reporting, and I think we are seeing that more,” Farrington said.
Campus Police has recently introduced new safety initiative measures to make Stonehill even safer.
“We’ve increased police visibility across campus. The walkway from the Holy Cross Center to the Sports Complex will be closely monitored on weekend nights because we have determined that is an access point to campus and we have a number of students who walk through that area at night,” Carnes said.
Lighting improvements for that area are underway.
A new shuttle service has been implemented for students who need a ride between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, though the service is only a trial period, said Farrington.
If a student needs the transportation, he or she can access the shuttle service by calling Campus Police at 508-565-5100.
“I think the shuttle system is a great idea, but I also think that they should advertise it more so people know they can call for a ride home at night,” senior Emily Wood said.
Some students had additional suggestions for the College.
“I think that they should send out Hill Alerts in addition to emails when something happens so that we know immediately; especially if it occurs at night so people know to be more cautious,” senior Krista Chouinard said.
Carnes encourages students to report anything that does not seem right to Campus Police.