Baylor report shows increase in motor theft, hate crimes, drug abuse

Story by Raegan Turner | Staff Writer, Video by Julia Lawrenz | Broadcast Reporter

The Baylor University 2018 Annual Fire Safety and Security Report, which outlines policies, statistics and safety practices of the university, was released on Monday by the Clery Compliance Office. Included in this report is a breakdown of crime on Baylor campuses, known as the 2018 Baylor University Clery crime statistics.

Findings reflect an increase of specific offenses related to students attending Baylor’s main campus. Motor vehicle theft more than doubled, rising from seven counts in 2016 to 15 in 2017. Offenses related to drug abuse doubled from 24 in 2016 to 48 in 2017. In addition, three hate crimes reported in 2017 included on-campus student housing race biased criminal mischief, on-campus student housing race biased intimidation and public property sexual orientation biased intimidation.

Alcohol related offenses and sexual assault crimes have decreased, possibly aided by heightened awareness and prevention efforts by the university such as increased security, implementation of the 105 recommendations and required online education.

Shelley Deats, Clery complicance manager for Baylor, explained the increase in sexual assault offenses in previous years.

“The way Clery works, you don’t go back and change your statistics retroactively, you go by the date they were actually reported,” Deats said. “What you saw with that spike was actually us catching up with late reports of past incidents that had occurred that we were just first learning about so that we could assist these people and provide resources. It was encouraging because it was things we wanted to know about and things we should have known about. We were able to discover that and move forward with resources for those individuals.”

Brad Wigtil, Chief of the Baylor University Police Department, outlined some practical things campus-goers can do to counteract possible crime.

“Self-awareness — being aware of your surroundings — is critical,” Wigtil said. “So often we are internally focused and externally focused on our cell phones and other devices. Just use what I like to call ‘the sixth sense;’ when something doesn’t seem right, listen to those instincts. Get involved to help the community if you see something that doesn’t seem right: suspicious activity, unsafe conditions on campus, or even a crime in progress. Let’s say you have a friend that seems to be in a precarious position or situation — call us, the police department, so we can help remove that opportunity for a crime to occur.”

Crime can be reported on Baylor’s “Report It” section of Baylor’s Department of Public Safety website or to BUPD.

Wigtil said in the preface of the report that protecting students from campus crime continues to be a primary concern for Baylor even with the decreased levels of various offenses.

“We will never become complacent in the responsibility that has been given us to safeguard the calling God has on the lives’ of our students, faculty and staff. We continually endeavor to enhance our services to the Baylor community through outstanding training, adding and enhancing safety programs, and gaining efficiencies through program reviews,” Wigtil said in the preface.

The information in the report was made public in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, which was enacted after Lehigh University student, Jeanne Clery, was raped and murdered in a residence hall on campus in 1986.

Baylor’s heart regarding the Clery report is echoed by Deats.

“The real reason behind what Clery represents is all about transparency with the community so that people can make informed decisions about safety for their loved ones to go to a campus university,” Deats said.

Because this information is so integral to the decision of many students and their families, Deats said it is important to also note the reason for some variation in uniform crime reports from the Baylor University Police Department and the official Clery report. Deats explains this,

“The difference between uniform crime reporting with the police department versus what you will see in those annual reports for Clery statistics is that [the Clery statistics] are alleged reports of crime,” Deats said. “One piece of the puzzle that I may never see is the final investigative outcome; regardless of whether a person is found to be guilty or if they even want to push forward with the investigation to the full extent, it doesn’t matter. Once it’s reported, it’s reported. Unless a police investigation has occurred that can completely prove that the situation never occurred — that it was a baseless report — it cannot be unfounded. Once it’s reported, it’s in the Clery statistics.”

Baylor’s main campus, the Louise Herrington School of Nursing, the Diana R. Garland Waco School of Social Work, the Diana R. Garland Houston School of Social Work, the Austin Executive MBA Program, the Dallas Executive MBA Program, and the Baylor in New York Program were all reviewed and disclosed in the final report.

Printed copies of the Baylor University 2018 Annual Fire Safety and Security Report are available online on the Baylor Department of Public Safety website and upon request by contacting the BDPS at (254)710-2222.