Rapes increased in 2016 at several Texas universities
Reported on-campus rapes increased in 2016 at several Texas universities, including UNT, UT-Arlington and SMU, according to recently released data.
Officials attributed the higher numbers to greater awareness and more victims willing to come forward.
At UNT, reported rapes rose from seven in 2015 to 13 in 2016. SMU saw an uptick from three to five; UT-Arlington rose from one to four; Texas A&M saw a rise from 13 to 30; and UT-Austin saw an increase from 10 to 16.
Numbers decreased at TCU, Baylor and Texas Tech. TCU dropped from 12 to nine, Baylor 23 to 11 and Tech eight to five.
“We’ve made concerted efforts to educate our community about crime prevention strategies and how to report sexual assaults and other crimes,” UNT police Chief Ed Reynolds said in a statement. "Our campus also has worked hard to create a culture where people feel more comfortable reporting crimes, and this does mean that more cases are reported.”
UTA spokeswoman Sana Syed said in an email that the university has emphasized to students the importance of reporting sexual assaults and other dating violence crimes.
“If individuals understand that UTA expects them to report the violence, and will support them when they report it, they are more willing to report violence whether it be against themselves or friends/roommates,” Syed said.
SMU spokesman Kent Best in an email said the university “urges students to immediately report any incident to police, to seek help from confidential counselors, to seek care from sexual assault nurse examiners and to preserve evidence.
“We are thankful that more students are reporting these offenses and seeking help,” Best said.
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