Annual Security and Fire Safety Report Shows Little Change in Crime Rates
UNT published its Annual Security and Fire Safety report Sept. 30, including statistics that show little significant change in crime rates.
According to the document prepared by the UNT Clery compliance team, reported rapes decreased from 12 in 2014. There were seven in 2015.
UNT chief of police Ed Reynolds said numbers fluctuate based on mandatory reporting from UNT employees, a practice which has increased in recent years after the university expanded education on the topic.
“I don’t think that the numbers are significant enough to make a statement of we have less [rape] occurring on campus,” Reynolds said. “Statistically, those small numbers are not really a trend.”
Other sexual offenses reported under the Clery Act include fondling, incest and statutory rape. The only change in statistics for these categories was for statutory rape, which increased from zero in 2014 to three in 2015. All three incidents involved the same two individuals on different occasions.
The report also includes the number of crimes which are unfounded, a new addition since 2014. One instance of fondling, one of robbery and one of burglary were determined to be unfounded in 2015.
Crimes are considered unfounded if the charges are found to be false or baseless, usually after an investigation by UNT Police or local law enforcement. Intentionally filing a false report may lead to charges against the complainant.
The 2016 report shows little significant change in non-sexual offense related areas. There is, however, a notable difference in the number of drug violations resulting in non-arrest campus referrals, showing a more than 50 percent drop between 2014 and 2015, falling from 66 to 31. On campus burglaries also dropped from 25 in 2014 to 15 in 2015.
Dean of students Maureen McGuinness attributed the drop to educational efforts by the police department, the dean of students office and the office of risk management.
“I think the continued education we do in the Substance Abuse Resource Center lets people know what could happen, both from the personal side of things and the health side of things, as well the criminal and the university side of things,” McGuinness said.
Clery statistics include data from the UNT Police Department as well as from outside law enforcement agencies, encompassing the university campus and surrounding areas.
It is important to note that sexual offense numbers reported under Clery may not be fully comprehensive; It does not show statistics on sexual offenses which are not reported to authorities such as UNT or Denton Police.
Most UNT employees are required to report prohibited behavior if they are made aware of it. Such behavior may include sexual assault, sexual misconduct, stalking or relationship violence. These employees are known as campus security authorities or CSAs, and include UNT faculty and staff other than counselors and legal services.
Chief Reynolds said he does not believe all instances of sexual assault are captured in the data, but was optimistic about the education and resources on campus.
“We make reporting as easy as we can make it,” Reynolds said. “We’re in this area now where we’re probably catching as many as we’re going to in terms of voluntary reporting.”
Students who wish to view the original report can do so at https://deanofstudents.unt.edu/sites/default/files/documents/ASFR%202016%20FINAl.pdf.
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