Annual Fire Safety and Security Report released

One of eight exterior “blue light” emergency phones across campus, which provide direct voice communications to the Department of Campus Safety Communications Center. (Marya Kuratova / McDaniel Free Press).One of eight exterior “blue light” emergency phones across campus, which provide direct voice communications to the Department of Campus Safety Communications Center. (Marya Kuratova / McDaniel Free Press).

On Sept. 30, Director of Campus Safety Eric Immler sent a copy of the Annual Fire Safety and Security Report to the campus community. This report details the past three years of crime and fire statistics, as well as current Campus Safety policies, procedures, and programming information.

“We join President Casey in the commitment to foster a secure and supportive environment at McDaniel. Campus safety and security is a collaborative effort at McDaniel,” said Immler in the introduction to the report. “While the Department of Campus Safety is an effective leader in keeping us safe, each member of the campus community must do their part.”

Immler believes educating the community on available resources is key to fostering a safer community. The report detailed educational and social programming on sexual and gender violence prevention facilitated at the College this past year, as well as crime prevention and safety awareness programs on campus.

The report also described the role of the Student Outreach Network, a behavioral intervention team. This group meets weekly to “share and discuss students who are demonstrating various signs of ‘at-risk’ behavior. As each student is discussed, members of the group provide up-to-date knowledge that includes, but not limited to, academic performance, out-of-classroom involvement, disciplinary issues, and information gathered from faculty, coaches, family and friends.”

The goal of the group’s discussion is to develop an appropriate plan of action for direct and indirect intervention with the student.

The report then provided compiled crime data. According to this information, reported rapes have gone down, with eight each on campus and in student housing in 2017 and six each on campus and in student housing in 2018. Reported dating violence has also decreased, with 11 cases on campus and ten in student housing in 2016, five cases on campus and three in student housing in 2017, and two on campus and one in student housing in 2018. However, reported cases of fondling have risen from one each on campus and in student housing in 2016, to four on campus and three in student housing in 2017, to eight on campus and six in student housing in 2018.

There were three cases of burglaries on campus and one in student housing in 2016, five each on campus and in student housing in 2017, and five each in 2018 as well. There were no cases of motor vehicle thefts in 2016 and 2017, but two were reported in 2018. Arson has also risen: zero cases were reported in 2016, one was reported on campus in 2017, and four each were reported on campus and in student housing in 2018.

Another increase of note is the number of disciplinary referrals for liquor law violations. In 2016, there were 81 on campus and 69 in student housing, in 2017 there were 85 on campus and 82 in student housing, and in 2018 there were 93 on campus and 92 in student housing.

The report listed plans for future improvements in fire safety. The renovations to Decker College Center “will include an upgrade to the life safety system, specifically the fire panel, horn/strobes, and communication with Campus Safety’s 24-hour monitoring system.” There is also a current project under way to review and update all posted emergency evacuation maps throughout campus.

Cameras have also recently been placed around campus. The report explains that these cameras will typically record areas where financial transactions take place and areas around first-year dorms where crime is more prevalent.

In regards to sharing the crime statistics, Immler believes it’s necessary for the community to know.

“It’s a transparent thing,” said Immler. “Even if it was not mandated, it is an appropriate thing to do.”