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HUPD Annual Security Report Notes Drop in Campus Crime

A Harvard University Police Department office on campus.
A Harvard University Police Department office on campus. By Shera S. Avi-Yonah
By Declan J. Knieriem, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard University saw a decrease in the overall number of reported campus crimes in 2018, according to the Harvard University Police Department’s annual security report released on Tuesday.

The total number of on-campus crimes numbered 163, down from 194 in 2017. The report indicated there were 43 reported on-campus burglaries in 2018, down from 48 burglaries in 2017. This also represents a consistent drop in on-campus burglaries, down from 70 in the 2016 report.

The report also tracked incidences of sexual assault on campus. There were 30 reported on-campus rapes in 2018, a decrease from the 2017 report, which reported 35 rape cases.

Reported cases of on-campus dating violence numbered 5, down from 26 in 2016 and 9 in 2017.

According to the report, there were two on-campus arrests in the past year, while there were none the previous year. In addition, there were 51 instances of on-campus disciplinary action, down slightly from the 56 in 2017, though still nearly double the 33 cases in 2016.

HUPD spokesperson Steven G. Catalano announced the report’s release — along with the University’s annual fire safety report — in an email to University affiliates Oct. 1.

The repor contains directions for reporting crimes; accessing crime prevention programs and substance abuse initiatives; and statisctics, among other things, Catalano wrote. The report is mandated by the federal Clery Act.

The report also includes details about the University's crime policies, which outline the definitions for hate crimes, harassment, drug and alcohol offenses, and missing persons. In addition, the report provides three years worth of crime statistics on Harvard’s campuses.

Harvard Police Chief Francis D. “Bud” Riley wrote in the report that HUPD is working to eliminate the “distraction of criminal activity and disorder” from Harvard’s campuses.

“Although reported crime at Harvard is low (and about 93 percent of it is property crime), it is important for students, faculty, staff, and visitors to remember that we are located in an urban setting and must contend with may of the crime and safety issues that exist in any city,” he wrote.

Similar to the past two years, reported crime in Harvard’s Longwood and Cambridge campuses shows a drastic disparity. While the Longwood Medical Area campus in Boston only saw 2 on-campus criminal offenses in 2018, the Cambridge campus saw 123.

The University Environmental Health and Safety Department publishes the annual fire safety report, which was released alongside the HUPD report. This report includes University fire safety policies, evacuation procedures, and fire statistics.

The report indicated a total of 4 on-campus fires in 2018, one of which occurred in freshman dorm Weld Hall, causing minor damage. The other three — one of which caused upwards of $25,000 in damage, according to the report — occurred in Harvard University Housing, which houses mostly graduate students and researchers.

— Declan J. Knieriem can be reached at Follow him ono Twitter at @DeclanKnieriem.

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