Decrease in drug and alcohol violations, increase in reported rapes, MIT Police reports

A student igniting a poster in a common area and another student tossing a flaming pillow in a dumpster were just two causes of fire reports made to the MIT Police in the past three years, according to the 2016 Annual Security and Fires Safety Report.

The report, emailed out on Tuesday, seeks to inform students about criminal activity on campus over the past three years, reiterate campus security policies, and explain preventative measures that residents can take to thwart on–campus or off-campus crime.

“Policing is as much about education as it is enforcement,” MIT Chief of Police John DiFava wrote in the report, explaining its purpose.

The report also listed the numbers of crimes of various types that were reported to the MIT Police over the past three years, from 2013 to 2015.

The number of rapes reported to MIT Police has increased from 12 to 23 over that time. This may reflect higher crime reporting rates, rather than higher rates of crime, due to increased awareness of resources available to assist students in reporting crimes.

On the other hand, reports of arrests and disciplinary action for liquor law and drug abuse violations have been steadily decreasing over the past three years.

Reported cases of arson and stalking also have also decreased.

MIT Police received no reports of hate crimes on campus relating to disability, ethnicity, gender, or religion. Whether or not this is due to reluctance to categorize certain crimes as hate crimes is not analyzed in the report.

Only police officers and military personnel can carry weapons on MIT’s campus, the report said.

Students may want to note that mace and pepper spray are also categorized as weapons, and if carried without the proper firearm registration, will result in a one-year minimum jail sentence.  

Only seven of the report’s 56 pages focus on fire statistics and safety. The vast majority of the document details security policies and urges students to take proper precautions.

Much of the information available in the report might already be considered common knowledge on campus. For example, the handbook encourages students to avoid leaving bags unattended, use a bike lock, be careful with drugs and alcohol, and get renter’s insurance.

Other advice may be less common knowledge. For example, in the case that students encounter an intruder, they are encouraged not to act “heroically” and confront them. Instead, they’re urged to take note of the intruder’s appearance, age, height, weight, and clothing, and call the MIT Police as soon as possible.

Crime reports can be made to the MIT Police at (617)253-1212, or anonymously at (617)-258-8477.