Fourteen sex offenses—down from last year’s 20—were reported at Bowdoin in 2015, according to the Annual Security Report on Campus Crime, Fire, Alcohol and Illegal Drugs. Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols released the report in an email to the College’s students and employees last Friday.

Nichols said the difficulty of collecting data on sex offenses means that outsiders should not draw conclusions about the College’s year-to-year climate or safety based on the report alone.

“When the numbers go down, that could mean that maybe our reporting unfortunately has gone down,” he said. “Or it could mean maybe there is a reduction.”

The report also noted 164 alcohol violations, a number within range of previous years. Drug violations were down slightly, with 30 citations in 2015 compared to 43 in 2014 and 51 in 2013. Nichols said more evidence is necessary to determine whether the decline represents a trend.

Every college and university in the United States participating in federal student aid programs is required to complete an annual safety report in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1998.

The report is geographically limited to on-campus buildings, other College-owned property and public property directly adjacent to Bowdoin. Incidents that occur at students’ off-campus residences or in the town of Brunswick are not included.

Nichols noted that many of the sex offenses counted in the report were reported anonymously and not all of the offenses occurred in 2015. Sex offenses are included in the dataset for the year in which they are reported, which sometimes differs from the year in which they occurred.

“[The 14 sex offenses] are the number of incidents reported to us during 2015. That doesn’t mean they occurred in 2015,” Nichols said. “Some of these that we’re reporting for 2015 actually occurred about three years ago.”

Sex offenses are classified into two categories—rape and fondling—both of which are defined by physical assault. The series of “Peeping Tom” incidents last fall did not fall into either of these categories and was not included in the dataset.

Bowdoin’s sex offense numbers were similar to those of its NESCAC peers. Colby reported 10 sex offenses during 2015, Bates reported 18 and Middlebury reported 22.

The report found no hate crimes at Bowdoin during 2015. Nichols noted that none of the bias incidents that occurred last year met the report’s federally mandated definition of a hate crime.

“In any given year we have a number of bias incidents on campus, but a bias incident in and of itself is not a hate crime unless it meets a certain threshold,” he said. “So as abhorrent as it is and as offensive as it for somebody from a car to holler out a racial epithet to a student walking on Maine Street, that’s not a hate crime—it’s a bias incident.”