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Annual Crime Stats For NIU Show Changes In Federal Reporting Rules


Arrests and referrals related to drugs and alcohol fell last year at Northern Illinois University. That’s according to the Annual Safety and Security Reportreleased Friday.

Universities are required to publish the report as part of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.

The latest report features several changes by the federal government regarding how sex offenses are reported. Before, they were classified only as forcible or non-forcible. They are now broken down into several distinct categories.

In 2015, there were 14 reported rape cases on-campus and in the surrounding areas. There were 26 reported instances of “dating violence.”

According to a release from NIU, an increase in reports of dating violence may be due to a change in classifications. The Department of Education recently created a separate category to track violations of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and clarified the definitions of "domestic violence" and "dating violence."

The statistics show one “intimidation” case of a reported hate crime based on sexual orientation.

Overall, drug and alcohol arrests were down from 2014.

The university’s police chief says the new reporting requirements made crime totals slightly higher because each offense must now be tallied in every category for which it is eligible. According to the release, a criminal offense that is also a Violence Against Women Act offense is now logged twice.

Jenna Dooley has spent her professional career in public radio. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois - Springfield. She returned to Northern Public Radio in DeKalb after several years hosting Morning Edition at WUIS-FM in Springfield. She is a former "Newsfinder of the Year" from the Illinois Associated Press and recipient of NIU's Donald R. Grubb Journalism Alumni Award. She is an active member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association and an adjunct instructor at NIU.