UCPD’s annual security report shows increase in reported sex offenses, robberies

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According to an annual security report released by UCPD on Thursday, the campus saw an increase in both reported sex offenses and robberies in the past year.

The increase in reports of sex offenses was likely due to increased education, awareness and resources surrounding sexual assault, according to UCPD Lt. Marc DeCoulode. He added that the additional robberies were committed by particular individuals, most of whom have since been apprehended.

The report reflected new categories of offenses as mandated by the Violence Against Women Act, reauthorized by Congress in 2013. The updated categories now include dating violence, domestic violence and stalking. According to DeCoulode, previously, such incidents may have been placed in less specific categories, such as battery.

“(The updated categorization) spells out the information a little clearer, so people are aware what’s going on in their environment,” DeCoulode said. “People should make informed choices about where they’re going to go to school.”

There were 14 reported incidents of dating violence, 33 reported incidents of domestic violence and 38 reported incidents of stalking in the past two years.

Forty-two sex offenses, all forcible, were reported to UCPD in 2013. In 2014, the number of reported sex offenses jumped to 64, including 42 reported instances of rape, 21 of fondling and one of statutory rape.

“There are many potential reasons for the increase in reports (of sex offenses), including increased awareness and education about the issue, both nationally and locally, and increased awareness regarding how to access resources,” said campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore in an email.

Gilmore added that there have been “numerous” efforts by students and the campus to raise awareness about sexual offenses, to educate the campus community about the issue and to make survivor resources more accessible.

The campus recently expanded sexual assault education and survivor resources amid an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Education into its handling of sexual assault cases and two federal complaints filed by 31 current and former students.

DeCoulode said these resources — including the Confidential Care Advocates Office, which provides victims an additional outlet for reporting besides a police department — could explain the increase in reported offenses.

Meghan Warner, a representative on the UC Task Force on Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault, said a mandatory education program for incoming students implemented in 2014 called Bear Pact, intended to give students the tools to combat sexual assault, may be another factor that lead to the increase in reporting.

“A big common concern among people is that they don’t know if their situation counts enough to report, so when they go through that education, it’s easier to recognize what does count,” Warner said.

UCPD releases updated crime statistics annually as mandated by the Clery Act.

Sally Littlefield is the lead crime and courts reporter. Contact her at [email protected].