Despite small rise, Bryan ‘blessed’ with low crime

6 years ago Triangle 0

By Dan Jackson and Meredith Kreigh

Police officers respond to an instance of public drunkenness on campus last year. It was one of 19 incidents of crime reported on campus that year. / Photo by Dan Jackson


While crime rates rose across Tennessee campuses last year by 4.2 percent, Bryan’s crime rate stayed low.

Among the incidents last year, Bryan dealt with a string of burglaries in its dorms, one simple assault, two instances of vandalism and a liquor law violation in the time between Jan. 2011 and Dec. 2011. However, the 19 incidents that occurred on campus last year is a small fraction of the 7,493 incidents that occurred across campuses around the state, according to data released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Statistics Unit, there were 3.96 crimes committed per 1000 students on Bryan’s campus last calendar year.

This starkly contrasted the 31.82 crimes per 1000 at Tennessee State University and even the 9.87 crimes per 1000 at Lee University—to name only two of the ninety-three institutions highlighted by the TBI.

Doug Schott, director of the physical plant, said Bryan is blessed to have a peaceful campus.

“I think that the kids that come here are less likely to do bad stuff,” he said.

However, Schott said the campus sees one or two people every year—student or non-student–who “have issues that they act out on.”

The Bryan is an open campus, with five roads leading from the hill and thus non-students are able to come onto campus. Schott said most are unaware of the security features on campus: the 36 security cameras, the daytime police officer and the night watch patrol.

In 2010 and 2009, Bryan experienced 18 incidents of crime each year. The numbers are small, and it could easily be skewed by one criminal mind on campus, Schott said.

“I think a math wizard would tell you the data is too small to make any inferences one way or the other,” he said.

The college is required to report crime data to the government because of the Clery Act.

The Clery Act, instituted in 1990, was a reaction to the rape and murder of Lehigh University freshman Jeanne Ann Clery in 1986. The Clery Act requires colleges and universities to document and make available crime statistics for the past three consecutive years.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation then took the data and compiled it in a state-wide report of college crime statistics which it released April of this year.

Crime steadily rose across the state’s campuses as the spring 2011 semester went on. The incidents of crime on Tennessee campuses peaked in April and then dropped during the summer.

The number of incidents rose again as school started up. Tennessee saw nearly 640 instances of crime in September and 650 incidents in October. But then crime declined as the school year eased into December.

The report found larceny and theft made up 37.1 percent of crime on campus. The most common theft was when the suspect took computer hardware or software from a building.

The report also said larceny and burglary most often occurs during the week, rising steadily from Monday and peaking on Thursdays.

Bryan experienced this kind of crime last year. November 2011 presented a string of five burglaries within two days in Huston and Arnold Residence Halls. Five Bryan students reported that an ASUS laptop, USB mouse, two Macbook pro laptops, an MSI laptop, a Lenova charger and an iPod Touch were stolen from their rooms.

According to police reports, the victims left their doors unlocked. Many of them lived on the second floor of their building.

Resident Director of Huston Kari Harpest said it is the responsibility of students to take extra precautions to make sure that their possessions are safe.

She wasn’t really surprised at the crimes since a lot of the girls don’t think about security.

“We encourage the girls to treat their room like home, but instead some of them apply that to the whole dorm; this means that they don’t lock their doors,” she said.