Campus police releases crime report

Nisheeka Simmons, Staff Writer

 Francis Marion University’s (FMU) campus police recently released the Jeanne Clery
Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics from 2012.
Ella Alston, sophomore chemistry major, received one of these documents as a part of a new
student orientation package.  Alston said she was glad that such information was available to
students, especially those who are new to campus.
“I just transferred from Clemson University, and I am still not used to FMU’S campus,”
Alston said.  “Knowing what crimes occur here most often and knowing what numbers to call in
case of emergency help me to be that much safer.”
The Clery Report features the campus security report, crime statistics and the annual fire
safety report.  The document is provided in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of
Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Act of 1998, the Drug-Free Schools and
Communities Act Amendments of 1989, the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Fire
Reporting Act of 2008.
This year’s Clery Report outlines the responsibilities of students and faculty in reference to
preventing unnecessary incidences and reporting any incidents they witness.  The document
includes the rules and consequences involving drugs, alcohol, smoking and violence.  It also
includes the names and contact information for several agencies and self-help groups.
Richard J. Austin, chief of campus police, said the primary purpose of the Clery Disclosure is
to let the readers know the policies and procedures taken for crimes committed on campus.
According to Austin, the crime rates at FMU tend to remain stable, and the only areas that tend to
fluctuate are the arrests made concerning drugs and alcohol.
“The rates for drug and alcohol-related crimes often vary because the rules for reporting
those types of arrests are different from the other areas,” Austin said.  “In other cases we are
supposed to report how many incidences occur, but with drugs and alcohol we are supposed to
report how many people were involved.  For example, if we bust one party with a pyramid of
beer cans and twelve people are in the room, then that counts as twelve incidences.”
Austin added that the most common crime that occurs at FMU is unsecured larceny, or theft.
He said this is ironic because it is one of the crimes that are not mandated to be featured in the
Clery Disclosure.
“Usually it is a situation where someone leaves something valuable out in the open, like in a
car, and it ‘grows legs and walks away,’” Austin said.  “Since it happens so often, we give
presentations to the students during orientation that give instructions on how to protect their
Austin said the criteria for next year’s Clery Report will be different from this year’s
publication.  Austin explained that the Department of Education is currently developing new
rules for what should be included in the document, including information about dating and
domestic violence.
“We want to give the students as much information as possible so that they can protect
themselves and others,” Austin said.  “If anyone sees anything unusual, they should report it. It might be nothing, but it could also be that last piece to a case that we were previously investigating.