2020 Clery Report shows increase in hate crimes, fires on campus

Alijah Hernandez, Reporter

The 2020 Clery Report released the on-campus fire and crime statistics for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019, which include an increase in hate crimes and fires at California Lutheran University.

Clery reports are published annually on all college campuses in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act amended in 1998, also known as the Clery Act.

According to the 2020 Clery Report and previous reporting by The Echo, there have been no reported hate crimes from 2014-2018. In 2019, however, two hate crimes were reported.

The incidents were categorized under intimidation based on bias of religion and sexual orientation.

“A hate crime is a criminal offense committed against a person or property, which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias,” said Campus Safety Director David Hilke in an email interview.

Hilke said he strongly encourages students, faculty, staff and guests of the university to report all crimes in an accurate and prompt manner.

“When Campus Safety receives a report of a crime… first and foremost, we make sure the victim’s needs are taken care of,” Hilke said.

The next step is to gather information for an incident report and determine if there is an ongoing threat to the individual or campus community. If both offender and victim are affiliated with the university, the incident report is shared with Human Resources and the Student Conduct Office.

In 2018 there was one reported fire on campus and in 2019 there were two reported fires.

“The reported fires were all kitchen-related and involved food preparation and a sugar mixture for a science project,” Hilke said.

Hilke said all residents received an email from the Office of Residence Life that contains a fire safety video and resident assistants performed fire/life safety inspections to identify and remove any hazards or prohibited items from the residential student’s room.

Fire drills are conducted in all residence halls; these drills include mandatory evacuations.

Fires may cause property damage so residence hall fires are investigated to determine if the fire was caused by negligence. If it is, Hilke said, “the responsible party is given a fine that equals the dollar value of the damage that occurred.”

Cal Lutheran’s full 2020 Clery Report is available here.