Crime on Campus

Many South Puget Sound Community College students still remain uninformed despite the Jeanne Clery Act enacted in 1990 to enlighten students about crime on campus.

Only one-tenth of SPSCC students questioned were familiar with this act, a result of the violent rape and murder of 19-year-old Jeanne Clery at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania in April of 1986.

Since fall quarter began over 10 incidents have been recorded, including hit and runs and an assault on campus according to an SPSCC report listing.

The security office maintains record of criminal behavior and offenses that are available to view by the public.

Jeanne Clery’s parents, Connie and Howard Clery, saw the death of their daughter as the catalyst to start Security on Campus, Inc., their nonprofit organization.

“Our daughter died because of what she did not know. The first major initiative of Security of Campus was to ensure that the same fate did not befall other students,” said Connie and Howard on the SOC website.

Only three-tenths of students questioned knew that SPSCC security officers do not have the authority to make an arrest.

This came as a surprise to an SPSCC student who preferred to be called Chris. “We see security officers on campus every day and expect that some type of action comes with the uniform. If I’m walking to my car and I get attacked or mugged what can the security officers do? Call the police and watch as the bad guy runs off with my stuff?”

Security officers patrol the campus frequently and are available to provide an escort to and from a student’s car, help with car trouble including jumper cable service, key retrieval, and traffic control. Officers also address theft, trespassing, fire and other criminal activity.

“One of the main responsibilities of the security office is to provide an operating force of trained personnel to protect the college community,” according to the SPSCC website. “All full-time officers have attended an accredited police academy.”

SPSCC security officer, Mike McCloskey, said that while the security office does employ full-time and part-time security officers, they no longer require formal law enforcement training.

“I think that security should have formal training. Evergreen has a trained enforcement team, so why don’t we?” said SPSCC student Daniel Pelton.

Between 1995 and 2002, college students were victims of approximately 479 thousand crimes annually, according to the Violent Victimization of College Students Report.

These statistics represent petty theft crimes as well as violent murder.

In 1987 Connie and Howard Cleary stood up for college and university students’ rights to be informed of crimes on campus relating to violence, drugs and alcohol along with the actions taken by security, according to the SOC website.

Due to the Cleary’s hard work, the college security departments are responsible for providing students up to date information on dangers that lurk on campus. Information on crime statistics, notifications regarding sex offenders, or security updates via the SPSCC website.

Safety on campus is a cooperative situation according to the SPSCC website. To report suspicious behavior or safety hazards call security at (360) 596-5299.