Duke Releases Annual Security Report for 2013

Increase in robberies resulted in arrests, security enhancements

Today, Duke released its annual crime statistics for 2013, which reflected an increase in robberies following several incidents in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens that resulted in the arrest of two suspects and increased security enhancements that remain in effect today.

The release of Annual Clery Security Report is mandated by the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act and details policies, procedures and support resources regarding safety at Duke, in addition to the crime statistics for the previous three years. 

While most crime categories remained consistent with recent years, the increase in robberies reflected an unusual spike last summer. Three of the nine robberies reported were credited to incidents in Sarah P. Duke Gardens that resulted in the arrest of Denshawn S. Thompson and Tamisha Thompson, who were charged with four counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and other crimes. Both were convicted and remain incarcerated.  

“While the numbers tend to fluctuate from year to year, overall the data indicates that Duke is a safe campus,” said Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president of administration and Duke’s emergency coordinator. “We are not immune from serious events, but they typically serve as the exception to the rule.”

As a result of the robberies in the Gardens last year, Duke took several steps to enhance safety on Central and East campuses.

“We replaced and updated the locks on all the residences across Central Campus, installed improved lighting across campus, installed additional fencing, increased patrols and cut back hedges along walkways,” Cavanaugh said.

The annual report provides statistics for reported criminal offenses, hate crimes, and arrests and referrals for disciplinary action for Duke’s main campus, including the hospital and research areas.

This year, Duke is also required to report several crimes under new laws from the Violence Against Women Act. Duke Police received reports of four counts of stalking, which includes cyberstalking, four counts of domestic violence and one incident of dating violence.

John Dailey, chief of Duke Police, said campus safety is a collective effort that not only requires the work of his department, but the help of students, faculty and staff. Dailey said Duke community members should always stay vigilant in creating a culture of safety, which includes avoiding traveling alone, especially late at night, and contacting Duke Police in the case of any suspicious activity. The department recently launched its own text messaging interface and can be reached by phone at (919) 684-2444. Both services are monitored 24-hours-a-day, seven days-a-week.

“Duke Police officers can’t be everywhere all the time, but we can serve our community most efficiently when we all work together,” Dailey said. “Safety is a shared responsibility for all of us on campus, which is why we’re always a phone call or text away.”