American universities are required to publish an annual security report called the Clery Act, which details campus policy regarding safety and security measures, crime prevention program descriptions and includes crime statistics for the past three years.
With this information available on university websites, it is easy to compare other college towns such as University of California, Davis (UCD); University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB); California State University (CSU) Chico to Cal Poly and determine how safe different small university towns are.
The Clery Act lists the number of crimes in the past three years such as burglary, vehicle theft and alcohol and drug violations as well as whether the crimes occurred on or off campus.
Cal Poly has the second least counts of burglary out of the four universities, with only 18 counts total both on and off campus in 2014. UCD has the most with 66 counts, followed by UCSB with 48 counts. CSU Chico has the least with only nine counts in 2014.
Despite it’s low number comparatively, Cal Poly has seen a rise in burglaries in the past three years. Eleven counts of burglary were reported in 2012, 10 in 2013 and the number rose to 18 in 2014. CSU Chico and UCSB have seen a decline in burglaries.
Vehicle theft at Cal Poly is higher than both CSU Chico and UCSB, but is not as high as UCD. Eight counts of vehicle theft were reported at Cal Poly in 2014 compared to two counts at CSU Chico and one count at UCSB. UCD, however, has the most with 13 counts in 2014.
Cal Poly has also seen a rise in liquor violations. Three counts of liquor violations were reported in 2012, but that number jumped to 34 in 2014.
However, UCSB has the most of the four universities with 89 counts. UCD follows with 47 counts, and CSU Chico has the least with only six counts.
UCSB Police Department Records Supervisor Lisa Murphy said that the bump in liquor violations can be attributed to an increase in patrols by the department. With more officers out on the streets, students were more likely to be caught.
Cal Poly has the highest number of drug violations with 88 counts reported. This is significantly higher than the other schools, as the second highest is CSU Chico with 31 counts.
UCSB has the lowest number of drug violations with only 15 counts, and the number of violations has decreased the past three years from 44 counts in 2012.
Cal Poly had a significant increase in drug violations from 2012 to 2013, going from nine violations in 2012 to 80 in 2013. Cal Poly’s Records Dispatch Supervisor Patty Cash-Henning said this was caused by a reinterpretation of the Clery Act that determined citations should be reported when originally only arrests had been reported.
Universities’ annual security report is useful information in comparing different universities and providing an in-depth look to the crime that occurs within a college community. Security reports are published in October of each year, and the statistics provided within the report are a useful tool for parents as well as students.
The University Police Department at CSU Chico declined to comment.
The crime statistics reported are for 2014 unless otherwise stated. Crime statistics for 2015 are not available until the 2016 annual security report is published. These statistics are potentially inaccurate because they do not include instances where victims did not report the crime, such as instances of sexual assault.