Annual fire and safety report shows safe campuses

By Nora Thompson


Pima Community College’s Police Department compiles all of the crime and fire statistics into a an annual booklet.

It’s 88 pages long and causes the table that you put it on to kind of shake. Pima faculty are hesitant to let you print it for free.

The Clery Compliance Officer, who wrote the damn thing, said to me upon arrival “You’re probably the sixth person to have read it,”

And read it i did, it took three days and two highlighters and and one meeting with the Pima Police commander Michelle Nieuwenhuis and the Clery Compliance Officer Steven Hogan to figure out what the most important parts of this report that no one reads is.

The first thing that you see on the front cover is that the this is “In compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crimes statistics Act,”

The Clery act started as the Crime Awareness and Campus Security act of 1990 which made it so that Higher learning institutions have to report their crime statistics if they want to receive funding from title IV.  In 1998 the act was amended and renamed the clery after Jeanne Clery a student who was raped and murdered in her dorm room.

“It basically comes under the student right to know, where you have a right to know about the policies and the crime levels on every college campus,” Hogan said.

This is why you receive emails when there is a crime that the Pima Police Department deems important for the general Pima population to know about, such as recent groupings at the West Campus.

Every college follows the clery act and as a result there is a daily crime report and an annual one, both are available at every college police department. The University of Arizona has a Clery Compliance Officer and an Annual Security and fire report.

The Clery act also dictates the areas in which crimes are considered ‘on campus’ like the street adjacent from the campus or in the case of the the Downtown Campus the park across the street.

Pima Community College Police Department

Starting at the beginning: Pima’s police officers use sworn police officer duties which means that they are certified by the state and they have full police authority.

“We want to differentiate that because some states limit their officers in higher ed to on campus activity only and we just want to make it clear that our officers have arrest authority and full authority on campus off campus any time they have a duty to respond to a situation,” Nieuwenhuis said.

Yes, this does include giving away speeding tickets while en route from one campus to another.

PCCPD also has jumper cables and will help get your battery started in a bind, they will escort students that feel unsafe to their cars, along with holding items of value for short amounts of time and controlling lost and stolen property.  

Pima also highlights all of the Pima students high on the sex offender registry, levels two and three. You can see them displayed on each campus.

Emergency situations

Emergency situations have happened at Pima before,

“We have had a variety, we have had reports of individuals seen with a suspected weapon, we’ve actually had confirmed reports of people on campus with a weapon, they happened to be in the middle of the night, and this being a non residential institution we didn’t formally have people on campus but we still sent out a notification anyways.”

Emergency situations can involve extreme weather and information technology shutdowns , not an IT disaster like the West Campus experienced earlier this semester but more along the lines of a leak in personal information that the college keeps.

Along with the text messages and emails that students already receive there are other systems at play that allow for more through contact during an emergency. Such as alerting the local news using the PA system (at the campuses where they have them) or using the VOIP telephone announcements, which is using the phones that are located in each classroom as a speaker system.

After the event Pima will also issue ‘Timely warnings’ which everyone with a PCC email has received in the past, even this year with the groping incident. The timely warnings are sent out when PCCPD deems it’s important to the public to know about a crime that occured, often when the suspect is at large.

Like many other colleges around the country Pima uses the “blue phones” for emergency situations. A person presses the call button and a PCCPD officer will answer and possibly send someone to the area. At any time as PCCPD is available 24 hours a day.

The stats

I entered this project in an attempt to find out what exactly was the safest campus. As most Pima students can attest there’s just no way to have all of their classes on one campus, whether it’s the limited summer options or specialized programs Pima students find themselves on long treks from one campus to another. So which is the safest?

In short it’s almost impossible to quantify safety, every place you go is going to get sketchier after the sun goes down and per the clery act not all of the reported incidents happened on Pima property. The Downtown Campus has a much higher crime rate than any other campus, not because they have more crime but because of the location of the campus and park across the street.

But anyways, the good news first, in the past three years there have been no murders, rapes  or hate crimes reported on Pima campuses.

The most common crimes reported are burglaries and drug and liquor violations.

The campus with the most crime reports is the downtown campus, the one with the least is the desert vista campus.

Motor vehicle theft is the most common crime reported across the campuses with at least one on each.

The East Campus had the most instances of stalking, with 5 reported.

The takeaway

It’s important to know your rights and to be aware of what’s happening on the campus you go to. Understanding both will keep you safe when or if something happens to you.