Study Shows Women Fear Night Crime

The results of a survey on security conducted last spring by the University police and the general counsel's office indicate that while students, faculty and staff feel relatively safe on campus, women feel "more constrained" than men at night and report more incidents of personal assaults.

In addition, the survey of 3607 Harvard students and employees uncovered two cases of rape that occurred last year which had never been reported to the University police. The report did not recommend any changes in security policy on campus.

Saul Chafin, chief of University police, was not available for comment yesterday.

The two rapes, one of a female student and one of a female staff member, both took place on Harvard property--one in a garage and one outside--and both occurred at night while the women were alone.

Along with these rapes, the study classed nearly half of the assaults as sexual in nature, and of these incidents, 78 per cent occurred when the person was alone.

About half of the assaults took place off Harvard grounds, the survey found. Of the incidents reported within Harvard boundaries, most occurred in University buildings or garages. Most occurred between 4 p.m. and midnight.

In 75 per cent of the cases reported, the victims did not report the assaults to the University police.

This figure, however, is similar to percentages reported in nationwide victimization studies, the report stated.

The more than 3000 respondents reported a total of 230 assaults during a ten-month period from July 1979 to April 1980. Of these cases, 52 were physical assaults and 11 required medical attention.

A breakdown of men and women in the study showed that women encountered more verbal harassment while men reported higher numbers of physical confrontations.

This report is the first in a series of studies of the survey results the University police and general counsel will conduct this year.

Daniel Steiner '54, general counsel, commissioned the study last spring after the rapes of two women on Business School property prompted undergraduates to lobby for improvements in campus security.

Elizabeth M. Einaudi '83--who founded Students Organized for Security (SOS) last year, and reviewed the survey's results with Steiner yesterday--said yesterday she worries that so many women fear for their personal safety on campus at night. In the study, women and men rated themselves on how "constrained" they felt at night, from a scale of one (least constrained) to five. Women rated themselves an average of 3.3, while men averaged 1.9. Radcliffe Union of Students critized the report for not making any recommendations to improve security and for not offering a breakdown of the results by race and by Quad or river residence.

Pearl also said she was disturbed by the report's conclusion that people generally feel safe, despite the two rapes and assaults reported. "If their results show that most people feel safe, then the situation is extremely dangerous," because students might not take precautions.

This first report concentrated on personal safety; the second will look at property crime and the third will examine the attitudes of Harvard students and employees towards University police