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According to the newly released security report put out by the Valencia College security office, complaints by students of stalking in the 2017 calendar year dwarfed the previous three years combined.
In accordance to the Cleary Act of 1990, U.S colleges and universities must release an annual safety and security report meant to instruct students and faculty on how to stay safe on campus as well detail campus crimes that took place in the three preceding calendar years.
“When we find that people are reporting certain crimes, on and off campus, we generate a list, we investigate whatever crimes are occurring, and we review our policies to minimize any crime going on in the area,” said Michael Forbes, the field supervisor at the Lake Nona security office.
The major anomaly detailed in the 2017 crime statistics is 17 reports of stalking – a number that is glaringly larger than the previous years. But to Forbes, this is no reason to panic. “I’m sure [the number] would stand out to most people, but it all depends on how the reports are being documented,” said Forbes, who agreed that the increase could come from the fact that it is being reported more by students than in previous years.
“It could be reported more, campus life is growing, people are becoming a little more confident in coming forward to describe situations that are occurring.” The New Yorker published its bombshell report on the sexual assault allegations levied against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, sparking the Me Too movement and a national conversation on sexual assault and harassment towards women. It is possible that this had some effect on the volume of student reporting.
“Call security for an escort anytime you feel uncomfortable walking on campus,” advises the 2018 report. “If you suspect an immediate threat from someone you see on campus, notify security immediately and do not approach the person who concerns you.”
Photo by Rob McCaffrey