Montclair State University released its 2020 Jeanne Clery Act on Oct. 1, in which the annual statistics highlight a decline in crimes. Rape assaults, liquor law arrests and domestic violence decreased significantly in comparison to the previous years.
From 2019 to 2020, rape crimes on campus declined from five to two. Liquor law arrests decreased from 34 to four. Domestic violence in residence halls went from 20 to four cases.
Katie Hyer, a junior journalism major, said the numbers are lower because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“I think the cases are low because all classes were online-only,” Hyer said. “A lot of people were not in their dorms. No one was outside a lot. You had to eat in your dorms and you couldn’t eat in the dining halls or anything. So, there were not a lot of people on campus.”
Capt. Kieran Barrett of the Montclair State Police Department also explained that the statistics declined because the 2020 academic year was mostly remote.
“The 2020 statistics provide a snapshot of crime on campus in a year that was largely remote,” Barrett said. “It does not, however, provide a good glimpse into the efforts to maintain a safe campus throughout the year from faculty, staff, students and police. These specific crimes would definitely see a downward trend when the university is closed for in-person.”
Although most of the campus crime statistics decreased, some students are still taking precautions to prevent becoming a victim of any type of offense.
Maria Hofmann, a senior journalism major, shared her self-defense methods in case she finds herself in a dangerous situation.
“I carry pepper spray, especially when I’m walking at night,” Hofmann said. “It makes me feel a little bit concerned, but we have those police blue buttons, which make me feel safe and I know the university does their best at keeping everybody safe.”
Only two of the crimes increased. The dating violence numbers went from three to five, while the drug law referrals raised from one to five.
Barrett also encourages the Montclair State community to take advantage of the campus resources if anyone experiences any type of assault.
“At [Montclair State], we want to encourage students and community members to come forward to get the care that they need when an assault occurs and that may include law enforcement, health services, psychological and counseling service as well as accommodations necessary to become a survivor,” Barrett said.