“The reason for a change there really has to do with our focus on promoting information about services throughout the University, which has encouraged more people to come forward and file reports,” he said.
Alison Kiss, executive director of the Clery Center for Security on Campus, said although these numbers have increased, that doesn’t necessarily mean the campus is less safe than before.
Kiss said the national reports are deeper than the numbers, and most of the time, higher numbers involving interpersonal violence mean the institution is doing more to encourage students who have experienced these crimes to come forward.
“We see numbers higher around these crimes when the campus is doing more outreach, more education to let students know they aren’t perpetuating culture but creating an environment where they can report and get help if they need it,” she said.
Junior Elizabeth Davidson, co-chairperson of Project Dinah, a student organization that provides resources for survivors of interpersonal violence, said these higher numbers were a good thing.
“We want survivors to feel safe about speaking out and I think the numbers reflect a trend toward that goal, rather than an increase in violence,” she said.
The University also houses various training sessions, services and educational opportunities, such as Project Dinah, for those who have experienced interpersonal violence.
“We try to educate the campus community by providing resources to survivors and allies, and we advocate for and empower survivors by uplifting and amplifying their voices,” Davidson said.
McCracken said his department offers programming throughout the year on various safety topics as an effort to make sure people know how to access available services.
“Any crime that we have is too much,” McCracken said. “We’re always trying to address those issues and try to reduce them if we can.”