The New College Campus Police Department (CPD) published its Annual Security Report (ASR) on Sept. 26. Mandated by federal law, the report details crime over the past three years and can help students evaluate their safety on campus.
“The report … includes information regarding crime reporting, campus security, law enforcement authority, drug and alcohol use, sexual assault, domestic or dating violence and stalking,” Chief of Police Jennifer Coley said in an email interview. It also covers fire safety, missing student notification and a range of other matters.
The report is required to disclose campus crime statistics in accordance with several federal laws, including the Violence Against Women Act, Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy (CLERY) and the Higher Education Opportunity Act. Publishing the ASR is a requirement for all colleges and universities that receive federal funding, and must be made available for employees and students every year before Oct. 1.
“The crime statistics represent all designated Clery Act crimes that have been reported to campus law enforcement. … The reported crimes in 2022 consisted of rape, burglary, domestic violence and motor vehicle theft. The most recent reports received in 2023 consist of two reports of assault on campus,” Coley said.
The report is retrospective, of course, and new incidents continue to happen. For example, those looking for answers to the series of NCF Emergency Alerts issued on Oct. 5 won’t find them in this year’s ASR, so the Catalyst reached out to CPD officials. According to the police report, on Oct. 5 at 6:41 p.m., a white Toyota Tacoma was driven into Sarasota Bay off Uplands Blvd. after moving erratically down Poinciana Dr. According to the report, the truck landed approximately 15 feet in the water; five to six gunshots were reportedly heard by neighborhood residents. The driver was seen walking north along the shoreline, and apparently submerged himself in the bay. Air 1, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Department police boats and K9 units were involved in the search for the driver, and a firearm was recovered from the vehicle.
The report states that the driver was seen earlier that day at a bar in University Town Center where he was reported in a call made to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. The search for him continued throughout the evening and the truck was towed from the Bayfront.The driver was found alive, and according to the report, he was located on Oct. 6 at 11:47 am.
During this time the CPD issued emergency alerts to campus every half hour via phone, voicemail and email. The final alert was sent at 9:44 pm on Oct. 5.
“Based on the information obtained and unknown threat, it was determined to send an emergency notification to both campuses. USF Tampa sent the RAVE notification for the Sarasota-Manatee campus and CPD dispatch sent the notification for the NCF campus,” Coley stated in the report.
Several students have reported bike-related crime on campus this semester. According to Coley, this problem has increased since the same time last year, with three theft reports so far. Thesis student Michael Bolesh told the Catalyst that his bike was stolen on Sept. 28 from the racks inside the Z dorm courtyard, where he had left it unlocked.
“I was really tired that day and apparently it was stolen by someone from off campus opportunistically. I could have locked it. It’s unfortunate but it was 100 percent my fault. PSA, always lock your bike,” Bolesh said.
Second-year Luke Heierding told the Catalyst that his bike, which was locked next to Bolesh’s, had its front tire slashed after 6 p.m. on the same day. Heierding said he was about to leave for work when he noticed the gash.
“I honestly have no clue why this happened. My only lead is that the bike that I locked up next to on Thursday was stolen later that same day, so I think it could’ve been collateral damage,” he said.
Heierding stated that the incident has complicated his transportation to and from work, as without a working bike shop, he will most likely need to fix the tire himself.
“Even though I have to buy a new tire and inner tube and my transportation methods have been largely inconvenienced, I still wish only the best for whoever did it,” Heierding said.
According to Coley, the school’s location next to US 41 and the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport has an impact on the rate of crime. She emphasized that members of the community should stay vigilant, and call Campus Police if something looks out of place.
“This does leave the campus more vulnerable to outsiders, including those who may pose a threat. For this reason, the Campus Police Department has devised various methods to reduce crime in and near the campus,” Coley said.
CPD officers patrol 365 days a year, 24/7 on foot, bike, golf cart and with vehicles, and provide crime prevention, such as bike registration. Coley encouraged all students to register their bikes with the CPD because it “will assist us in locating the bike in the event it is lost or stolen.”
Coley told the Catalyst that on learning students would be living in hotels, officers met immediately with the hotel staff to regularly provide patrol for the additional locations, and informed local law enforcement of the change in housing. The Mighty Banyan Safe app, which is the official safety app for NCF, is also available to students.
“The Campus Police Department’s goal is to work with the community to provide a safe and secure environment,” Coley said.
The CPD is directly available at 941-487-4210.