MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The latest Clery Report report from West Virginia University shows a significant decrease in drug and alcohol arrests, but an increase in other crime categories.
The report is a federal requirement from the Clery Act that requires public and private colleges and universities to release information about crimes that happen on or near campus.
WVU releases its report annually and this year’s 67-page report shows a more than 50% decrease in liquor law and drug violations. WVU Police Chief Sherry St. Clair said recognizing many students are away from home for the first time, they have started to use the Student Conduct system for some first-time violators.
“Everything depends on their attitude and we understand they’re going to make mistakes,” St. Clair said. ” We’re able to use Student Conduct to educate them a little bit on that.”
Increases in incidents of rape and fondling were up, but St. Clair said some of the crimes were reported well after they had occurred, in some cases the next year.
“What we seen is a little increase in rape and fondling, but a couple of cases on each of those that happened years back and they were just reported for some reason,” St. Clair said.
Reports of stalking were up in this edition of the report and St. Clair attributes that to increased campus awareness.
“There’s a lot online,” St. Clair said. “You’re seeing stalking online and a lot of that falls into your social media stuff and online stuff that in years past we haven’t seen.”
Getting students to be more self-aware is very important as property crime increases in the area. St. Clair said they are urging students to take steps to avoid being a victim of what she calls a “crime of opportunity.”
“One of the other things that’s not on the Clery Report that we’re really pushing is crimes of opportunity, we’ve had a lot of vehicle break-ins, bike thefts, and things like that is more of a crime of opportunity,” St. Clair said. “So, we’re trying to get students to understand to lock things up.”
St. Clair wants students to know her agency is there to help and she wants to make sure students feel comfortable making reports. She also encourages students to download the live safe app to be included in any emergency notifications.
“I want to make sure people feel comfortable reporting things to us,” St. Clair said. “That’s a big thing for us and we also want to educate them while they’re here.”
The report covers WVU’s Morgantown campus and its Health Sciences offices in Charleston and Martinsburg.