2022 Security and Fire Safety Report shows crime returning to pre-pandemic levels

Reports of rape and fondling increased in 2021, while reports of fires and motor vehicle theft decreased.


Claire Gatlin

A VUPD car, as photographed on Nov. 9, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Claire Gatlin)

Aaditi Lele and Zach Joseph

The 2022 Vanderbilt University Public Safety Annual Security and Fire Safety Report noted an increase in reported cases of rape and fondling and decreases in reported fires and motor vehicle theft. This year’s report was the first to include information from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

VUPS is responsible for recording information for this report on a daily basis throughout each calendar year, in line with the Clery Act, which requires statistics for crimes and fires to be included in the three most recently completed calendar years. The Clery Act also mandates that campus officials evaluate if there is a serious or ongoing threat to the campus community to determine if a timely warning needs to be issued to all staff and students when a Clery Act crime occurs. The report also serves in compliance with Tennessee’s College and University Security Information Act and the Fire Safety Right-to-Know provisions of the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act.

The following statistics only involve reports of crimes and violations on the university campus, not including the VUMC. According to the report, this jurisdiction includes any on-campus buildings, such as residence halls, as well as adjacent streets, sidewalks, parking garages and non-campus educational sites. Violations are categorized by the year in which they were reported, rather than the year in which they occurred. The 2022 report includes statistics from 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Violence Against Women Act violations

The Violence Against Women Act is a law that creates and supports comprehensive, cost-effective responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. The report defines offenses such as stalking, fondling, domestic violence, rape and sexual assault as offenses of this act. Reported cases of rape increased in 2021 from 2020, going up to 28 reports from 13 reports. In 2019, 26 cases were reported, close to the 2021 statistic. Fondling similarly increased to pre-pandemic levels with 17 reported cases in 2021, nine cases in 2020 and 16 cases in 2019. 

Domestic violence and dating violence both increased slightly in 2021. Eight cases of domestic violence were reported on-campus in 2021, compared to seven reports in 2020 and 16 in 2019. One case of dating violence was reported in 2021, after no reports in 2020 and 2019. 

Reports of stalking held constant from the previous year, with seven cases reported both in 2021 and 2020. 

Criminal offenses and fire safety

Reported cases of on-campus burglary remained constant from 2020 to 2021, with five reports each year. No cases of robbery were reported in 2021, a decrease from one report in 2020 and one report in 2019. Aggravated assault remained constant, with one case reported in each of the past three years.

Motor vehicle thefts were cut in almost half, with three reported thefts in 2021, and five reports in both 2020 and 2019. Reports of fires similarly were halved from the previous year, with three reported in 2021, six reported in 2020 and five reported in 2019. 

Arrests and referrals for disciplinary action

Liquor law violation referrals were halved from 2019 to 2021, with 167 in 2019 to 109 in 2020 and 92 in 2021. No arrests were made in relation to liquor law violations in 2021. 

Drug law violation referrals dipped to 12 in 2020 and increased by almost double in 2021, with 22 referrals in 2021. In 2019, 43 drug law violation referrals were given. Unlike liquor law violations, one arrest was made in relation to drug law violations in 2021. 

Weapons law violation arrests remained constant, with one arrest in both 2021 and 2020.