Drug abuse arrests and citations have increased on campus, while forcible sexual offenses decreased by nearly 50 percent, according to the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report from Public Safety released Wednesday.
The report, which is mandated by federal law for all institutions of higher education that receive money from the federal government, is a result of the Clery Act. The act passed in 1990, after Jeanne Clery was raped and murdered in her dorm room at Lehigh University in 1986. After the crime, her parents questioned why they did not know that the campus had a relatively high crime rate.
The goal is to make crime statistics and preventative measures taken by the university available to current students and employees, prospective students and employees and parents.
The most recent report, which includes data from the 2010, 2011 and 2012 calendar years, showed that crime rates either stayed the same or decreased in all but two categories, both under the category of drug abuse.
"What we need to do is understand that just because criminal behavior has not happened, it does not mean that it can't happen," said Angie Nally, director of Public Safety. "People still need to make their personal safety a priority and play their part in living in a community, which means that if something feels out of place, they're reporting it."
However, the most significant decrease was in the category of forcible sexual offenses, which decreased from 13 to seven reported cases.
"It could be an unwanted kiss," Nally said, explaining that the category is not always intercourse or rape.
Sophomore Dan Burmeister was still weary of the particular statistic.
"I don't really know what to make of the statistics, because anyone can really call anything sexual assault at this point," Burmeister said. "It's not a good thing that [sexual assault] happens period, but it's a good thing that it's gone down."
Nally believes that the decrease is due to the campaign that the university has been working on for the last few years.
"What we expect to see happen and what you want to see happen, when you do a major campaign on a campus, is that you'll see a rise in the number of people who are reporting," Nally said. "But eventually, you should see those numbers come down because hopefully you're affecting behavior through your reports."
First-year Meyvi Baez thinks the decrease has been a result of the discussions that the university has had with freshmen.
"Usually, you don't hear about [sexual assault] in other places," Baez said. "Other colleges don't talk about it, but DePauw emphasizes it."
While hospital transports are not included in the report, the report shows a decrease in liquor law arrests and citations. However, drug abuse arrests and citations increased from 2011 to 2012. While these increases were not significant, they were the only areas to increase.
Overall, Nally believes that the statistics accurately represent the environment at DePauw.
"I think the statistics are representative of the crimes and activities that they require us to report statistics on."