UB saw a decrease in crime in 2021, with the exception of residential fire incidents, motor vehicle theft (one reported in 2020 and three reported in 2021), rape (three in 2020 and four in 2021) and fondling (zero in 2020 and three in 2021), according to the 2021 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report released by University Police.
Residential fire incidents increased from three in 2020 to six in 2021, with two cases of arson in Spaulding and Wilkeson Quad, representing a decrease from four cases of arson, all at Goodyear, in 2019. There have been no reported injuries or deaths due to residential fires for at least the past three years.
“Even though in each [arson] case [in 2021] there was only very minimal damage, we investigate these as far as we can because fires in residential areas are so dangerous,” Deputy Chief of University Police Joshua Sticht said. “In both of these cases, investigators were assigned to conduct follow up interviews with residents in the area. Unfortunately we were not able to identify a suspect in either case.”
Out of 14 primary crimes listed in the report — murder & non-negligent manslaughter, negligent manslaughter, rape, fondling, statutory rape, incest, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, arson, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking — rape and fondling saw increases of one and three cases, respectively.
On-campus burglary cases dropped from 17 in 2019 and 12 in 2020 to nine in 2021, with six incidents happening in residential halls.
“Most of our residential burglaries are incidents where the victim has left their room open and unlocked and a suspect just walked in and took property,” Sticht said. “We do directed patrols in our first-year student dormitory spaces. If the officer finds a dorm room open and unattended, we close the door and leave a reminder note. We try to educate our students about closing and locking their doors, which is the easiest way to keep from becoming a burglary victim.”
Liquor and drug violations reached their lowest rates since 2017, dropping to 266 alcohol referrals and 47 drug referrals in 2021. Police made two arrests for drug law violations on campus.
University Police’s “overall philosophy” is to be a part of the “educational experience,” Sticht said. They generally believe that students will have better outcomes if they are referred to the Student Conduct Office rather than having to issue a criminal appearance ticket.
UPD is required to make annual reports under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, a federal law that mandates that universities disclose information about crimes on and around campus.
Victims of crimes involving sexual misconduct can report cases to the University Police Department by calling (716) 645-2222, submitting an anonymous form or calling the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office at (716) 645-2266.
Members of the UB community can report crimes by calling the University Police Department at (716) 645-2222, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Jasmin Yeung is an assistant news/features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org