The 2018 Clery Annual Fire and Safety Report indicates an increase in reported rape cases, dating violence, liquor law violations and weapon arrests; a slight increase in fires and a major decrease in burglaries in 2017.
Rape cases reported on campus rose, with two in 2015, four in 2016 and five in 2017. There was one reported rape off campus in 2017 and the other five reported cases occurred in residence halls, leading to six total reports.
UCAPD Officer of Public Relations and Communications Michael Hopper said these numbers do not indicate a rise in offenses, but rather a rise in victims reporting their rapes to the police.
“I think it’s an increase in reporting rather than an increase in the actual incidents,” Hopper said. “We do know that [rape]happens far more often than it is reported.”
Hopper said UCAPD wants victims to report sexual assaults, so it can offer resources for the victims and investigate the reports on a case-by-case basis.
“We want [sexual assaults], when they happen, to be reported so we can investigate each one and take whatever action is appropriate for that case,” Hopper said. “We want the survivors of these assaults to come forward because there are resources out there to be offered for support, and if they don’t get reported, if we don’t know about it, we can’t do anything about it.”
Hopper said Clery also changed the way to report sexual assault for the 2018 report.Beforehand, each individual category — rape, fondling, incest and statutory rape — were bundled into the category of sexual assault. For the 2018 report, those categories were parceled out to obtain better statistics on each one.
According to the report, dating violence also increased since 2016. Dating violence tripled between 2016 and 2017, with three cases reported in 2016 and nine reported in 2017. Only three of the nine reported in 2017 occurred in residence halls.
Hopper said these instances of dating violence outside of residence halls most likely occurred in parking lots or in university buildings, but without looking at individual cases he could not say where they occurred.
Liquor law violations generally increased in both arrests and referrals to university administration. On campus, arrests doubled from four in 2016 to eight in 2017 and referrals nearly doubled from 45 in 2016 to 88 in 2017.
Hopper said this was most likely due to general fluctuations in the numbers.
“When you’re only looking at a three-year period, it’s hard to figure out what makes these things move up and down like they do on the chart,” Hopper said. “It could be something as simple as there weren’t as many parties that year as there were this year.”
Weapon arrests and referrals also increased since 2015, with no arrests in 2015 and 2016 and five in 2017. Similar results can be seen regarding referrals, with zero referrals in 2015 and 2016 and one in 2017.
“Those more than likely stemmed from traffic stops where individuals had weapons on them when they were stopped,” Hopper said. “We never like to see those weapons out here on campus, but it’s always good when we find those weapons and get them off the street.”
There was a slight increase in fires between 2016 and 2017. Whereas there were no reported fires for residence halls in 2016, three occurred in Arkansas Hall, State Hall and Baridon Hall.
According to an article from The Echo about the 2016 Clery Report, the lack of fires in 2016 was at least partially due to the implementation of a fire suppression device called FireStop placed in apartment buildings. These devices did not suppress the 2017 fires because they were only placed in apartment buildings, not campus dorms. The 2017 fires occurred in residence halls community kitchens or laundry rooms.
“These FireStop devices do not prevent fires from happening, but they do work to help prevent the spread of a fire,” Director of Housing and Residence Life Stephanie McBrayer said.
Finally, there was a major decrease in burglaries between 2015, 2016 and 2017, with 19 in 2015, 13 in 2016 and six in 2017. Four of the six burglaries in 2017 occurred in residence halls. Hopper said the other two occurred in one of the academic buildings where a professor had their office door open and something was taken.
Hopper said he hopes preventative programs, such as Operation Gotcha, have contributed to the decrease in burglaries.
As part of the operation, Hopper said every year UCAPD teams with housing to test doors in residence halls. If a door is unlocked, the housing staff will make a list of things visible from the door that could have been taken and leave that information in the room. Then, UCAPD will secure the room.
“We hope that the programming that we do helps educate the public which helps reduce the number of these sorts of crimes that we see,” Hopper said.