In September, Campus Safety and Security released its Annual Security and Fire Safety Report. The report, which can be found on the Security website, includes statistics on campus crime and fires, Security’s policies and guidelines for reducing the risk of sexual assault, crime and fire.
“I believe the most important parts of this report are all the suggestions put forth to reduce risk,” David Boyer, director of Security, said. “Whether it be in the area of fire prevention, sexual assault prevention or general crime prevention, it is very important to remember that for every incident we are able to eliminate, we are also preventing someone from being victimized.”
Kim Trembley, administrative assistant in health services, and Cyndi Haley, executive assistant to the dean of the College, compiled the security portion of the report. Joe Moran, the manager of safety and environmental compliance and Paul Ethier, fire safety inspector, prepared the Fire Safety Report. Dean Bolton and Meg Bossong, the director of sexual assault prevention and response, wrote the Sexual Misconduct: Sexual Assault and Sexual Exploitation section.
This year, Bolton and Bossong made significant changes to the College’s Sexual Misconduct: Sexual Assault and Sexual Exploitation policies. These policies are in accordance with the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on March 7.
While there have only been four fires in on-campus housing in the past three years, Boyer is especially concerned with fire safety and believes this number is unacceptable.
“I am not happy with any fire statistics; fire is one of the issues that causes me to lose sleep at night,” Boyer said. “I worked very closely with a student several years ago who came close to losing his life in an off-campus fire. The student escaped with only the clothes on his back. Everything else in his apartment was destroyed, his computer, books, clothing, passport all gone in seconds. Just imagine how hard that would be to continue as a student, mid-semester, after such a traumatic incident.”
Boyer also hopes to see a decrease in crime levels.
“I am not happy with any level of crime on our campus, but I am encouraged when I see involvement and improvement,” Boyer said. “We work hard to prevent crime and are very pleased to see the level of involvement we are getting from observant students. For example, earlier this year, we had the incident with the suspicious men, one of which was wearing a horse head mask. The incident was immediately reported, student witnesses later came forward to give us additional information and other students later reported sightings of the vehicle.” The information the students provided allowed Security and the Williamstown Police Department to ultimately identify the individuals.
One of the most notable trends in the crime statistics is the drop in liquor law violations from 81 in 2011 to zero in the past two years. Boyer attributes the decrease to a change in how the College handles alcohol violations.
“Alison Warner, our second shift patrol supervisor, and I both participated in an advanced Clery training courses and are now able to better differentiate the college sanction process from violations of the law,” Boyer said. “All of the elements of a crime must be present to classify an incident as a violation of State or Federal law.” Boyer explained, for instance, that an underage person who is found intoxicated and transported to the hospital was previously counted in the College’s statistics.
“Internal possession of alcohol by a minor is not a crime in Massachusetts and should not have been counted in our crime statistics,” said Boyer.