UWG actively tries to provide the safest campus possible to its students. According to the Clery Act Coordinator Lt. Mike Keener, current crime rates are extremely low. However, the most common crimes committed by students on campus relate to fighting, possession of marijuana and underage consumption.
“The crimes that occur on campus are usually low-level or non-serious offenses: fighting, drunkenness, misdemeanor marijuana—that kind of stuff,” said Keener. “The crimes that occur off campus though, those tend to be much more serious, especially at the off-campus apartment complexes.”
There are also off-campus crimes that can be more serious. Keener discusses how many of the instances include rapes, robberies, murder, drug dealing and fights.
“We have a lot of roommate disputes,” said Keener. “Sometimes, they’ll escalate into fights or property damage.
“That’s not uncommon, especially at the end of the semester when everyone’s been putting up with their roommate who’s a jerk for like three months,” continued Keener. “Now they see the light at the end of the tunnel getting out of the room, and they think ‘I can do what I want now, I’m about to leave.’”
Before his current role as the Clery Coordinator and administrative Lieutenant, Keener was an investigator for the UWG Police Department for several years. He said that UWG has a few cases of sexual assault a semester on average.
“I would say the vast majority of sexual assault outcries are true,” said Keener. “Now whether they are provable or convictable is a different matter altogether. In my experience as the primary sexual assault investigator during that time, they are by far true.”
Keener explained how rape cases tend to take longer to be reported to the police from when they occur because students are reluctant. People don’t necessarily want to tell the police and go through the verification process.
“Sexual assault is such a traumatic event for the victims,” said Keener. “They oftentimes don’t tell anyone right away. They just want to deal with it. Plus, there’s the internal mechanism of ‘well was it rape? Was it not rape?’ that a lot of them struggle with as survivors.
“You know you learn about rape on campus like Jeanne Clery instantly, where somebody goes into your room that you don’t know and violently assaults you,” continued Keener. “With rape, it’s most often, on campuses, an acquaintance or a friend, ex-boyfriend, current boyfriend or a guy you’re talking to—it may even have been someone you’ve had sex consensually with before. There’s a lot of that self-doubt that victims and survivors go through that causes them not to make that initial outcry.”
Although the current pandemic has drastically impacted the lives of many students, it has also resulted in a lower on-campus crime rate. Because students had to abide by quarantine measures during the spring semester, they couldn’t be out doing anything.
“They’re nearly zero,” said Keener. “It’s not the most ideal student-life situation. Normally we have a very vibrant student life on campus, but the coronavirus has totally desolated that.”