Berkeley rape reports spike 44 percent from 2016 to 2017, preliminary FBI data shows

Ariel Lung/Staff

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Reports of rape in Berkeley increased by 44 percent between the first half of 2016 and the first half of 2017 — from 27 to 39 cases — according to data released by the FBI in February.

The statistics were released as a part of the FBI’s preliminary semiannual uniform crime report, or UCR, which tracks offenses reported to law enforcement in cities across the nation with populations of 100,000 or higher, including Berkeley.

The preliminary report included statistics on crimes reported between January and June of 2017. The numbers showing an uptick in rape reports preceded the #MeToo movement, which first gained traction in October of 2017 as a viral social media campaign.

Since the beginning of the 2017-18 academic year, which commenced in late August, 54 cases of sex crimes have been reported within a 1-mile radius of the UC Berkeley campus, according to data from Crime Mapping, an online database that combines reports from both UCPD and Berkeley Police Department, or BPD. Twenty-three of these reports were defined as sexual assault felonies, while an additional 16 were considered sexual assault misdemeanors. The remaining 15 reports were filed under the umbrella “sex crimes” category.


Although BPD typically releases a mid-year crime summary each September to City Council with updated figures on Part I offenses filed with BPD — including homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson — this report did not materialize in 2017.

The 2016 report showed that 53 rape reports were filed over the course of that year — an uptick from the 41 reports that were filed in 2015.

BPD could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Previous data from UCPD indicated a steady increase in rape reports between the years of 2012 and 2016 in Berkeley, from two cases to 16 cases over the course of those four years.

UC Berkeley’s campuswide push against sexual violence began years before the #MeToo movement took hold, including through the ASUC-sponsored “Cal Consent Week” in April 2015.

Most recently, Berkeley administrators launched the campus “My Voice” survey in conjunction with NORC at the University of Chicago, a research institution that conducts data analysis for businesses and nonprofits. The survey was the first of its kind to address sexual harassment and violence within the entire campus community, according to Sharon Inkelas, special faculty adviser to the chancellor on sexual violence and sexual harassment.

ASUC Student Advocate Jillian Free said she supported the effort to collect empirical data on sexual violence and harassment at UC Berkeley.

“On our campus, data is powerful, and this is a real issue that’s affecting and has affected and will continue to affect students,” Free said in a previous interview with The Daily Californian. “It’s about time we have data on that.”

Contact Miyako Iwata at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @dailycalmiyako.