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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

Sac State security report shows increase in crime on campus

The annual security report finds student safety issues on the rise
Sacramento+State%E2%80%99s+Police+Department%2C+Monday%2C+Oct.+1%2C+2023.+The+Annual+Security+Report%2C+released+Sept.+15+as+part+of+the+Jeanne+Clery+Disclosure+of+Campus+Security+Policies+%26+Campus+Crime+Statistics+Act%2C+reported+a+significant+increase+of+crime+on+campus.
Brionna Woody
Sacramento State’s Police Department, Monday, Oct. 1, 2023. The Annual Security Report, released Sept. 15 as part of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policies & Campus Crime Statistics Act, reported a significant increase of crime on campus.

Sacramento State’s 2023 Annual Security Report released on Sept. 15 listed criminal offenses such as Domestic Violence, and reported no Hate Crimes despite antisemitic graffiti found on campus in 2022 and more.

The report is released annually as part of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policies & Campus Crime Statistics Act. The report included statistics on four categories of crime, including Criminal and Sex offenses, Violence Against Women Act offenses, Clery Arrests and Referrals for Disciplinary Actions and Hate Crimes.

Two points that stood out in the report were a significant increase in reports of domestic violence and stalking in addition to a claim that no hate crimes were reported on campus last year.

Although there were no reported hate crimes, multiple incidents of antisemitic graffiti were found on campus last fall. As a result a town hall was held to address the Sac State community regarding the hateful vandalism.

Two swastika symbols were found on campus last year. One in a classroom in Mendocino Hall on Sept. 1, 2022 and the other found near J Street a day later.

Melinda Latas, California State University director of Systemwide Clery and Campus Safety Compliance, said the incidents were excluded from the report because of the location of the graffiti.

“The Clery Act requires us to use federal definitions for our reporting,” Latas said. “The regulations tell us to only report as hate crimes, incidents where ‘the victim was intentionally selected because of the perpetrator’s bias against the victim.’”

Latas said that while a victim could be a person or group, there would have to be a “nexus,” or connection to the person or group as selected by the perpetrator.

“In the case of vandalism motivated by bias, antisemitic graffiti on a Hillel house/center on a campus, or a Jewish fraternity house would clearly establish selection of a group as a victim,” Latas said.

In accordance with the regulations, Latas attributed the incidents last fall with no direct link to a victim.

“However, there are many inappropriate, offensive, and harmful incidents on campuses that involve graffiti in campus spaces that aren’t connected to a victim as required by the regulations,” Latas said.

Additionally, the report indicated an increase in domestic violence cases, 18 in 2022 versus three in 2021. The report attributes the uptick in domestic violence cases to “reports by two persons reporting multiple instances of mutual dating violence over an extended time period.”

Latas provided further context adding that of the 18 reported incidents of domestic violence, 14 occurred within a residence hall and four occurred on campus.

“Unfortunately it is common once violence becomes part of a romantic or intimate relationship for us to see multiple, and sometimes even frequent incidents of physical violence between the parties,” Latas said.

Regeena Lewis, Sac State’s Clery Director, confirmed that of the 18 Domestic Violence cases, seven were from the reported two persons.

“In this case, one individual reported five instances of Domestic Violence all at once rather than as they occurred and the other two were reports they made against each other at the time of the incident,” Lewis said.

In addition to the rising numbers of domestic violence incidents, there has been an increase in numbers of reported stalking incidents with four occurring in 2021 and 13 in 2022.

“An increase in crime statistics may mean that there were more incidents of stalking on Sac State’s campus in 2023 than there were in 2022,” Latas said. “However, it may instead be a sign that awareness on campus of the importance of reporting has increased.”

Some Sac State students, like third-year psychology major Sandra Caballero, said they were concerned to hear about the increasing crime statistics in the security report.

“As a woman on campus I want to feel safe in an environment where I’m coming to learn,” Caballero said. “The hate symbols, the domestic violence and stalking affects the entire campus and serves as a distraction to everybody.”

Caballero said she would like to see the rising number in crime statistics on campus decrease.

“A safer environment for everybody is a better learning space in general,” Caballero said. “We’re just trying to graduate, man.”

Matthew Probst, a first-year international relations student, said he worries about the safety of marginalized groups on campus.

“My brother-in-law is Jewish so this hits home for me,” Probst said. “I wasn’t a Sac State student last year, but this is too close for comfort.”

Probst said discussions need to continue to be had for the betterment of students and Sac State at large.

“The community needs to come together and have a serious discussion,” Probst said. “We have to find a way where minority groups are able to come to school and feel safe.”

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About the Contributor
Erick Mendoza, News Staffer
(he/him) Erick Mendoza is a fourth year political science-journalism major. He has ambitions of being able to make a difference in his community by bringing valuable information that affects Sac State at large. He one day hopes to work in cybersecurity and will pursue that line of work after he graduates.
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