Reported rapes increase in 2016, according to UCPD security report

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Cherry Wu/Staff

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UCPD released its annual security report Friday, which revealed an increase in reported rapes and a decrease in drug abuse and liquor law violations from 2014-16.

The report discloses campus security policy and crime statistics relevant to the UC Berkeley community. It was released in compliance with the Clery Act, which requires universities that receive federal funding to publish data on campus crime, including alcohol and drug use, sexual assault, robbery and hate crimes.

Although UCPD spokesperson Sgt. Sabrina Reich said that UCPD is “still in the process of analyzing the numbers” to see if it can identify any trends, the report indicated a significant increase in rapes.

In 2014, 50 incidents of rape were reported to occur on or near the UC Berkeley campus. The following year, the reported incidents of rape decreased to 40. But in 2016, the number increased to 63, a 57.5 percent increase from 2015.

“With sexual assault crimes, it’s commonly accepted that it’s an area of law that is severely underreported,” Reich said. “It’s difficult to pinpoint the reason for the change, but I suspect it has something to do with the UCPD, along with campus partners, increasing our education outreach to both survivors as well as to the community, and because of that it may have led to an increase in reporting.”

The campus community has made several outreach efforts in recent years, including the annual Take Back the Night event. The event, co-sponsored by the Gender and Equity Resource Center, or GenEq, and the ASUC, aims to raise awareness of issues surrounding sexual assault. The ASUC also supported the Sexual Violence Conference last April to foster discussion about sexual violence.

The report also included data on hate crimes — six were reported in 2014, two in 2015 and seven in 2016. In 2014, three of the reported hate crimes were intimidation-based, and four were related to ethnicity. In 2016, however, three of the reported hate crimes were ethnicity-based and three were based on sexual orientation. Four of the reported hate crimes in 2016 were assaults, and the remaining three were intimidation-based.

According to the report, however, there was also a significant decrease in drug abuse violations. In 2015, the number of violations was 256, and the number decreased to 150 in 2016.

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Reich said the decrease in drug abuse violations can be attributed to a decreased emphasis on enforcement of marijuana violations, since voters passed Proposition 64 in November 2016, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana in California. She said marijuana violations were previously considered misdemeanor violations, but are now considered infractions, and are treated like traffic citations.

Similarly, the report shows that the number of liquor law violations has decreased by about 6 percent over the past two years — in 2014, there were 846 reported liquor law violations, and in 2016 there were 796.

According to Reich, UCPD worked with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, or ABC, among other organizations, to enforce liquor law violations in prior years. But because of decreased staffing levels, and other duties for on-campus officers, Reich said UCPD has been unable to enforce alcohol consumption laws to such an extent, which may have resulted in this decrease.

“We have not been able to devote the same level of resources to the enforcement of liquor law violations (as) we have in the past,” Reich said. “I think this is just the nature of trying to be responsive to the UC Berkeley community while also trying to juggle day-to-day patrol calls for service.”

Contact Anjali Shrivastava at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @anjalii_shrivas.