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UNT Annual Security Report shows increase in rapes, drug violations

UNT Annual Security Report shows increase in rapes, drug violations

On Friday April 14, UNT police Officers Gerald Shepherd (left) and Chad Terrill (right) talk outside of the Gateway Center before heading back out on patrol. Katie Jenkins

UNT Annual Security Report shows increase in rapes, drug violations
September 27
21:32 2017

UNT’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, published Wednesday, shows the number of reported rapes have nearly doubled from 2015 and drug violation arrests have increased by 66 percent.

Statistics on rape

Dean of students (DOS) Maureen McGuinness pointed out the increase in reported rapes may not be representative of an increase in total rapes, as not all survivors report rape to either the DOS or the UNT Police Department.

The figure comes from a combined total of DOS and police department reports. None are counted twice, even if reported to both departments. Rape numbers do not include statutory rape. The 13 reported rapes must legally include those cases which the DOS investigates, and in which they find the respondent not responsible.

The report is compiled primarily by the UNT DOS, the UNT Police Department and the Emergency Management division of UNT’s Risk Management Services.

Representatives from each department meet regularly throughout the year to discuss campus safety.

Drug and alcohol violations

The published crime statistics showed 201 drug violations in 2016 — a significant rise from 134 in 2015 and 128 in 2014. Non-arrest campus referrals for drug and alcohol violations decreased significantly.

“I don’t think that we have more drugs on campus,” UNT Police Chief Ed Reynolds said. “I think as a police department we are doing a little better job on enforcement.”

Reynolds said the department has made an attempt to decrease the number of violent crimes by deterring drug and alcohol violations, which he said are often involved in such crimes.

UNT police target areas with consistent drug and alcohol violations at peak times to prevent violent crimes at a lower level.

Burglaries and other crimes

There were 11 burglaries in 2016 — down from 15 in 2015 and 25 in 2014. Reynolds said he was hesitant to identify the decrease as a trend, but identified increased cooperation with housing authorities as responsible. Reynolds said most burglaries are crimes of opportunity and occur in the residence halls when doors are left open or unlocked.

“With crime sometimes you have to be careful with taking credit for lower crimes, especially when you’re dealing with small numbers,” Reynolds said. “I do think the numbers have gone down because we have done a much better job working with housing on crime prevention.”

Four crimes were classified as unfounded in 2016. They included one sexual assault, two vehicle thefts and one burglary. Only law enforcement officials can classify a crime as unfounded and only if they find the facts of the case clearly support there was no crime.

Reynolds was not able to comment on the unfounded sexual assault without reviewing the specific case.

Reynolds clarified vehicle theft reports are common early in the fall semester when new students forget where they parked their car. Students are not penalized for such reports because they did not intentionally make a false report.

The report includes a section on non-arrest campus referrals, which are cases where a student is referred to the DOS for violating the student code of conduct. Violations may include actions which violate the law, but may not be reported to the police if they are considered minor. One example of such a violation could be underage drinking in the residence halls.

“They might violate the law, or they might violate the code,” McGuinness said. “But they’re not dealt with at the police department.”

One racially motivated hate crime occurred in 2016, which involved defacing a surface in a dorm with a derogatory term. Residents of the involved hall attended mandatory training after the occurrence.

McGuinness said students’ most important takeaway from the report should be regarding resources: how to report, who to go to and when to contact the DOS and police.

“Crime for a community our size is relatively low,” Reynolds said. “That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your safety seriously.”

Feature Image: On Friday April 14, UNT police Officers Gerald Shepherd (left) and Chad Terrill (right) talk outside of the Gateway Center before heading back out on patrol. File

About Author

Sarah Sarder

Sarah Sarder

Sarah Sarder is the Senior News Writer for the North Texas Daily.

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