Rowan University ranks third in reported crime amongst NJ college campuses

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Students learn self defense in Rape Aggression Defense course offered at Rowan. - Photo via Laura Gage

A recent report from NorthJersey.com showed that Rowan University had the third highest amount of reported crimes compared to other NJ colleges between 2019 and 2020. 

NorthJersey.com has a searchable database that currently shows reported crimes for Rowan from 2014 to 2021. This information is based on data from the Department of Education. 

From the report mentioned, the school with the highest amount of reported crime was Rutgers University-New Brunswick, with 92 total. Their highest reported crime was burglaries. Princeton University had the second highest amount, with 75 total crimes and the highest reported being motor vehicle theft. Rowan had a total of 46 reported crimes, with the highest reported crime being rape, documented 19 times. 

Comparing this information to updated data from the Rowan University Annual Security and Fire Safety Report from 2023, the number of reported cases of rape in 2021 was 11, and 18 in 2022. 

Senior Director of Public Safety Reed Layton explained why Rowan may have such highly reported numbers of crimes. 

“There is a lot of crime reported because transparency is really important to us, we put the student body and the staff first. The Campus Security Authority, CSA, is anyone who has authority on campus and needs to report anything suspicious they see. If they hear something, they say something. The CSA is very active and well-trained, which can lead to a higher rate of reported crimes. There is also an increase in enforcement of officers, especially on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday,” Layton said. 

Additionally, Layton pointed out that Rowan’s undergraduate population size was larger in 2019 than it is currently. In 2019, Rowan’s undergraduate population on the Glassboro campus was 16,210, and now it is approximately 15,264. 

Rachel Amarille, a junior at Rowan, reacted to these statistics.

“It’s really shocking, especially as a woman on campus. I mean, I think Rowan is really good at providing resources for students. I felt like resources for consent and safer sexual practices would be more common here,” Amarille said. 

One of the resources that Rowan offers in terms of self-protection is the Rape Aggression Defense System (R.A.D.) course. This woman’s-only program is taught by certified instructors and focuses on self-defense tactics and methods. This class is held one to two times a semester, typically in the Student Center or Wellness Center on campus, and is open to students, faculty, and staff. 

“It’s a very, very basic class for self-defense. It’s usually a two-day class that can be anywhere from four to six hours, depending on how big the class gets. It’s hands-on, your level of comfort. We absolutely encourage you to do everything and try everything, but again, it’s what you’re comfortable with. We do some basic kicks, basic punches, some ground defense. And on the second day we do a Redman suit,” Patrolman Laura Gage said, one of the instructors of the course. 

A Redman suit is a large, padded suit that R.A.D. uses to train participants for potential real-life scenarios. The course also teaches women about being aware of their surroundings on the street, walking by themselves, and when going out to parties. 

“Most of what we see with situations like that is at parties, they meet somebody and things escalate and usually there’s alcohol involved. So our biggest thing is to educate and make them aware of how to keep yourself safe. Leaving your drinks around, taking drinks from people you don’t know, that type of stuff. Based on my 15 years here and things that I’ve seen, that’s one of the biggest things,” Gage said. 

As a student, Amarille was unaware that Rowan offered this type of class.

“I had no idea. I literally didn’t know until now. And I feel like that’s a good resource to have. Especially, I mean, again, the solution to rapists is get people to stop raping. There is an added layer of safety. I’m glad that there is that and I wish that was more promoted because I think that is important, especially now that we know the statistics and stuff,” Amarille said. 

The goal of the course is for participants to come out with the confidence that they will be able to protect themselves. 

“So, when we do the moves, you have to say ‘No’ at the same time, and in the beginning, it’s a lot more reserved. And by the end, sometimes even by the end of the first day, they’re all loud. And because we ask that question in the beginning and the very end, ‘Would you feel confident? Do you feel confident now?’ At the end of the class, everyone’s hands are up, because it’s things they were never taught and they never thought they could do,” Gage said.

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