CAMPUS CRIME

Abstract:

Education is the foundation of our future. It is empowered to make choices and motivate the youth in chasing their dreams. But now-a-days the increasing rate in campus crime has led to darken the future of the students and has made their life turn upside down. Illegal behaviour occurring on college campuses includes both traditional type of crime, which includes burglary and rape, as well as emerging type of crime including cyber stalking, hacking, etc. However, post secondary institutions have treated campus crime as a “dirty little secret” and have not been forward in revealing their campus crime records. Although there have been few measures taken by governments of different countries with concern to campus security, still there should be certain steps which must be adopted by the universities with respect to certain factors affecting a student’s life.

This research draws upon attention of the readers to the growing concern for campus security and therefore reducing campus crime. The main objective is to motivate the students, the public in general as well as the government to have due care towards the safety of the students who are the standing pillars of the country.

INTRODUCTION

University campus is a place where almost everyone has spent their years of life learning, making mistakes and where they have made the most memorable memories of their life which when they recall would bring a smile to their face. But now-a-days several forms of campus crimes have taken grounds which sometimes haunt the inner core for the victim. Campus crime has now been an emerging concern for the government to look after as it is concerned with the youth of the nation, which are known as the backbone of a country. According to a study conducted by the British Council and the online student forum The Student Room entitled “Student Insight Hot Topics: The Rise in Global Student Safety Concerns”, campus safety ranks at number 5 in importance out of 19 factors affecting a potential student’s choice of course.

The issue of campus crime is basically no longer about determining “how much is there,” but is instead a multidimensional trouble that poses opportunities and challenges on several fronts. Illegal activities such as assault, rape and homicide occurring within the boundaries of institutions are not new nor have the college campuses experienced a variety of high tech offences such as illegal sharing of copyrighted material such as videos and music and cyber stalking. Crimes occurring on college and university campuses are considered to be reluctant to be discussed by the administrators.

Crimes occurring in campuses done by students are either handled internally through the disciplinary proceedings or are handled by the local authorities. Post secondary institutions are not aware of the crime occurring within their institutional boundaries nor are they aware of the securities. Campus crime is considered a “dirty little secret” that very few institutions are willing to discuss. Recently over the past few years, campus crime has been an evolving issue in our community, but still it is not yet properly understood by them. Many people familiar with the issue believe that colleges are merely concerned with their reputation rather than the safety of the students.

CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR: THE ROUTINE THEORY

The literature on criminal behavior has generated a variety of theoretical perspectives – economic, psychological, cultural, social, and biological. Routine activity theory, developed by Lawrence E. Cohen and Marcus Felson, is a theory of criminology which revolves around three things- “potential offender (a person motivated to commit a crime), a suitable target (a vulnerable victim who is available), and the absence of a capable guardian (insufficient protection to prevent the crime)”. For any sort of criminal activity, the presence of these three factors is important. Routine activity theory also has its own criticism like any other theory. One of the primary criticisms is the assumption that criminals are rational in their decisions. They may not use the same rationale as the person implementing the security measures. They may not even be aware of the situational crime prevention techniques put into effect. They might also be under any influence or might simply not care about the security measures.

Likely offenders are found within the surrounding community, if not then within themselves, students commit crime and their motivations to commit crime range from economic to psychological. College campuses and universities by their nature, contain suitable targets for offenders – accessible motor vehicles, bikes, and high priced items per unit size, such as stereo equipment and desk-top computers. If a capable guardian is absent, then the probability of crime occurring becomes higher. Besides, there are only a few academic institutions which can afford a large investment in security. Moreover, students are generally regarded by law enforcement officials to be infamously poor guardians – individual rooms rarely locked, people coming and going at all hours, unattended buildings or poorly secured buildings. Thus, this criminal theory leads us to theorize the existence of “spillover” effects between community and campus.

DIMENSIONS

One must understand that campus crime involves an intersection of three aspects to understand that the concept of campus crime is not merely to have knowledge of its quantitative aspect but that it is a multidimensional phenomenon which affects the lives of plenty of people in its own ways. To understand campus crime, we need to know that it involves three contexts – the social, the legal and the security and each of them is related to each other.

  • The legal context of campus crime:

1.The legal perspective involves two branches of government which are the legislative and the judicial, to deal with campus crime. The judicial side includes rulings of court through PSIs while the legislative side include Congress and State level legislatures to make laws that deal with the problems of campus crime.
Judicial side: courts have repeatedly held the post secondary institutions (PSIs) liable for criminal victimisation. The basis for their rulings the court mostly interprets the law of torts (act of negligence) and sometimes contract law. In case of negligence the main issue for the court to prove remains to determine whether the institution had a duty towards the victim and the basis of the duty, if determined. Few courts on the other hand use the concept of breach of expressed or implied contract to hold the student liable for campus crime- related to victimizations.

2.Legislative side: there had been plenty of federal laws initiated regarding student’s right to know which includes the campus security act of 1990, higher education act of 1965. As of 2006, over 50% of the states had passed some legislation regarding campus crime, that involve either enabling statutes allowing universities in a particular state to create a fully functional campus law enforcement agency, or statutes and laws regarding the obligations which need to be fulfilled by the PSIs.

  • The social context of campus crime:

The social context of campus crime includes the research efforts which include two key areas involving social science efforts to accurately estimate the extent of sexual victimization of college women and to examine the role of student’s lifestyle contributing towards campus crime. Few surveys and studies have reported that students generally had lower overall rates of criminal victimization compared to non students of similar age group. The survey also found that most students were victimized by other students who were familiar to the victim and also that plenty amongst them had not taken any measures to prevent the crime. Overall the surveys did successfully describe who was being victimized, where did the incident occur, how and when it happened, what was the cause of the crime and plenty of other essential factors.

  • The security context of campus crime:

It includes various measures taken by the PSIs who have developed sophisticated policing and security agencies and activities to address various issues involving campus security whether physical, law enforcement or information technology security. During the past few years, an increasing number of campus law enforcement agencies in the United States have adopted Company oriented policing which involves reducing the level of specialization in the agency, reducing organizational distances, creating closer bonds with the campus community and seeking greater emphasis on problem solving by patrol officers. On the other hand there has also been a high rate of high tech crime and victimization. Due to this it has been a matter of major concern for the PSIs to adequately safeguard sensitive information, design and implement safeguards to prevent network interruptions and crime, and educate students about the responsible use of electronic devices and the ethical and legal choices they face while using such devices.

TYPES OF CAMPUS CRIME

Following are the crimes that occur within the college campuses-

RAGGING

The problem of ragging in universities has persisted on large grounds despite several rules. It is considered to be a tradition which is passed from one batch to another and also considered to be a form of “structured bullying”. The senior students are the ones, who consider themselves to be at an authoritative position than the others and so try to have control and empower over their juniors or the freshers. According to law, “ragging could send a person to jail for 10 years. In India, ragging is banned in all the universities and such acts are punishable by fine which may exceed to Rs. 50,000 and imprisonment varying between 6 months to 10 years and could severely affect a student’s career. Major incidents of ragging are reported by the known institutions of our country which includes IITs, NLUs, NIFTs, and NITs etc. As per the records collected by the UGC, 3299 cases of ragging of students have been registered across India between April 18, 2012 and December 12, 2017, out of which only 957 students were punished. This is the condition even after UGCs strict guidelines to college regarding effective anti-ragging measures.

BURGLARY, ROBBERY, THEFT

Sometimes these terms are considered to be one or the other almost the same, but it’s not true. These terms have very specific different meanings.

Theft- Theft occurs when someone purposely takes and carries away, uses, transfers, conceals, or retains possession of movable property of another without the other’s consent and with intent to deprive the owner permanently of possession of such property.

Robbery- Robbery occurs when someone takes property from the person by either using force or by frightening the imminent use of force or putting a person in fear.

Burglary- Burglary includes unlawful entry of a person with the intention to commit or attempt a felony (crime) or larceny (theft).

SEXUAL ASSAULT

Sexual assault is a type of sexual violence which applies to a broad range of forced and unwanted sexual activity, which includes the following terms:

  • Forcible rape – A rape where the vaginal or anal sexual intercourse is done without the consent of the victim
  • Forcible sodomy- It is defined as sexual interaction which involve the genitals of a person and the mouth or anus of another person forcefully or against the will or consent of the victim
  • Forcible fondling- The touching of the private body parts of a person by another for sexual satisfaction forcefully or against the will or consent of the victim

Sexual assault can involve forcing someone into non-consensual sexual acts by way of manipulation, physical or emotional force, or psychological force, including threats or other means of threats. Rape According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), 11.2% of all students experience rape and sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation. The use of alcohol is a very common factor which contributes in over 90% in cases of rapes and sexual assault on-campus.

HOMICIDE

Homicide includes the following:

  • Negligent Manslaughter: It involves killing of a person by gross negligence.
  • Murder and Manslaughter: The wilful killing of a person by another person.

HATE CRIME

Hate crime has been a growing matter of concern for the universities to look after now-a-days. Hate crime includes causing harm or committing a crime because of any reason related to race, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability. Every campus includes students who belong to an age group ranging between 16 and 23, thus experiencing the highest number of hate crime incidents. They have more common and close contact with a range of identities and information as well as organisations that politicise these, and may be exposed to much greater social diversity than previously experienced. Students have become more vulnerable to consider causing harm to others based on their race, religion or gender, or what we could also say about their personality or existence.

HIGH TECH CRIME

High technology crime refers to those crimes that are conducted using new electronic and digitally based technology. These crimes are also referred to as cyber crimes, computer crimes, etc. it includes crimes which are assisted such as distributing child pornography, selling or purchasing illegal drugs, gambling, internet fraud, terrorist activities, computer hacking, etc. Students being victim of such crimes suffer through emotional and physiological distress, which further lays a forever imprint in their lives and hampers their own development.

DRUGS-ALCOHOL- SMOKING

Addiction of drugs, alcohol and smoking is very common among the college going students. Young people frequently try experimenting with the consumption of drugs, alcohol and smoke. Slowly and steadily, the students get addicted to these and ruin their studies and therefore resulting in ruining their career. It should be known to them at consumption of these substances on-campus is illegal and also otherwise illegal for the students below 18. According to the national institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism, more than 1,800 students die each year due to alcohol. There are an additional number of 6, 00,000 people who are injured every year and a number of 1, 00,000 people who become victims of alcohol related assaults every year.

LEGAL RIGHTS EVERY STUDENT IN INDIA SHOULD KNOW

Most of the citizens of our country are more or less aware of their rights and duties. But are there different rights for the student on-campus? The Indian law does not have any statutory meaning of the term “student”. It becomes quite challenging for the students to exercise their rights in a proper way, because the rights of every student in our country are the same as of the other citizens. There is also a lack of any codified law for students rights in India which makes it even more difficult to function systematically. There is much need for the government to exercise laws which avoid biases in academics, sports and other spheres. Following are the legal rights which every student in our country is entitled:
Right to freedom of speech and expression: Freedom of speech and expression is considered as the mother of all the liberties and is accepted as the essence of the society. Every student has the right to freely express themselves. In Shreya Singhal vs. Union Of India, supreme court held that freedom of speech and expression is of paramount importance which could be exercised both from the point of view of liberty of the individual and from the point of view of the democratic government, and also that it must be preserved.

Right to information: A student will only be able to truly systematically function when they have true and appropriate information about the activities and policies and every small bit of things going around them , and benefits and services that they must be entitled to.
The right to information itself promotes transparency and accountability. In CBSE & anr. v. Aditya Bandopadhyay and ors, the high court marked that the RTI act is intended to be formidable tools in the hands of responsible citizens to fight corruption and to bring transparency and accountability.

Right to equality: In Chandigarh Administration & Anr vs. Jasmine Kaur & Ors, the Supreme Court laid down that if there is any sort of violation of right to equality and equal treatment towards the competing candidates, it would then be just and fair to provide exceptional reliefs to the specific student alone. Therefore every student should know that they have every right as compared to every other student in his campus. No student could be subjected to any sort of discrimination.

Right to education: Article 21A of the Indian constitution provides that “the state shall have free and compulsory education to all the children of age between six to fourteen years in such manner as the law provides”. Also it must be ensured that children on campus suffer no harm in exercising their fundamental right to education. In Avinash Mehrotra V. Union of India, Supreme Court interpreted the right to education to comprise the right to the provision of a secure environment in university campuses, and imposed a compulsion on the part of the university campuses to comply with certain fire safety precautions which were detailed in the judgement.

Right to life (article 21 of the Indian constitution): In Parents Forum for Meaningful Education & Anr. v. Union of India & Anr., a division bench of the Delhi high court while striking down a rule for disciplinary action under the Delhi school education rules, 1973 held that children should not be subjected to corporal punishment in schools and they should get education in an environment of freedom and dignity, free from fear.

PROVISIONS UNDER INDIAN PENAL CODE

Following are the provisions under which a student may file a FIR in the nearest police station:

  • Section 294: it includes that a person who does any obscene act in a public place or recites any obscene song would be punished for a term extending up to three months, or with fine, or both.
  • Section 323: it includes that a person voluntarily causing hurt should be punished for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine extending to thousand rupees, or with both.
  • Section 324: it includes if a person voluntarily causes hurt by means of dangerous weapons or means with an intention to cause death or any other harm should be punished for a term which may extend to three year, or with fine, or with both.

ANTI-RAGGING LAWS

The University Grant Commission (UGC) has reiterated the ban on ragging of students in universities by passing The UGC Regulation on Curbing the Menace of Ragging in Higher Educational Institutions 2009.

  • Regulation 6: Every student during the admission procedure is entitled to sign an affidavit and an application form along with his parent’s signature, stating that he will not be ragging other students directly or indirectly. If the student is found guilty then he will be entitled for punishment under Indian Penal Code. Also it is the duty of the university to inform the new students about the Anti-Ragging groups and committees.
  • Regulation 6.3: It implies that every university must have an Anti-Ragging committee to be managed by the head of the institution, consisting representatives among the faculty, students, parents and non teaching staff.
  • Regulation 7: It includes filing of FIR within twenty hours of receipt of any knowledge or information concerning any related reports on ragging, by the head of the institutions.
  • Regulation 9: It is concerned with the actions which the anti-ragging committee must take against any action concerning rape and take appropriate decision on commencement of the punishment.

Punishment for ragging:

  • Cancellation of admission
  • Class suspension
  • Withdrawing or withholding scholarship or any such benefits
  • Debarring from any evaluation process
  • Expulsion from hostel
  • Rustication for few semesters
  • Expulsion from the institution and debarring from admission to any other institution
  • Fine Rs. 25,000/-

AUTHOR:

-Chelsea Gupta
Banasthali vidyapith 3rd year BBA LLB