Thursday, February 2, 2023

Motor vehicle theft the highest on-campus crime in 2021, report says

October 4, 2022
Fire Truck at the MSU Fire Station on September 20, 2020.
Fire Truck at the MSU Fire Station on September 20, 2020. —

The Michigan State University 2022 Security and Fire Safety Report shows how various reported crime rates changed in the first in-person year back on-campus.

The annual report, which is required by the federal Clery Act, aims to provide transparency in crime statistics across U.S. college campuses. The report focuses on 14 crimes along with liquor, drug and weapons arrests and disciplinary referrals.

The 2022 report covers statistics from 2019, 2020 and 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lower numbers of people on campus, the 2020 data was unique compared to previous years. Data from 2021 gives the public a better look at how crime has changed with a full campus population.

According to MSU Police and Public Safety Communications Manager Dana Whyte, crimes included in the report must meet the Clery crime definition, occur within Clery geography and be reported to campus security or a local law enforcement agency. 

Crimes do not have to be proven to be included in the report. If a full investigation finds the crime to be false, it will be considered unfounded. The number of unfounded crimes can also be found in the report, Whyte said.

Whyte said crimes can be defined by both the state and federal laws depending on the crime. Definitions for each crime can be found here.

Compared to 2020, a majority of crimes have higher reported numbers. Whyte said this can be attributed to the fact that far more people lived on campus in 2021 compared to the year before. It’s important to compare these numbers to the 2019 data, as that year’s campus population was more comparable to 2021.

Motor vehicle theft was the highest reported on-campus crime in 2021 with 31 reported cases. Burglary and rape are second highest, each with 19 reported incidents.

Reported on-campus rapes in 2019 and 2020 are asterisked to note that many of the reported incidents were due to the crimes of Larry Nassar. However, all 19 reported rapes, along with the four reported cases of fondling in 2021, were unrelated to Nassar. Of the 19 on-campus reports, 18 occurred in campus residential facilities.

Stalking reports have decreased each year since 2019 and dating violence reports decreased 47% from 2019 to 2021. However, domestic violence reports have increased since 2019 with five reported cases in 2021.

The report also covers robbery, aggravated assault and arson. In 2021 these crimes had three, four and one report, respectively. 

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