UNL overall crime rates down, reported sex crimes up - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

UNL overall crime rates down, reported sex crimes up

By: Lauren Fabrizi

A new federal report shows overall crime rates at college campuses nationwide have gone down between 2001 and 2011.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a part of that trend.

"I did a lot of walking across campus at night in the last year because I worked really late in the temple building, and I feel really safe," Alicia Amescua Ojeda, a UNL sophomore, said.

UNL Asst. Police Chief Charlotte Evans said the reason for the decrease has to do with educating students on ways to stay safe, not just through lessons in residence halls, but also through social media like Facebook and Twitter. 

Although crimes like burglary have gone down, the report shows the number of reported sexual assaults on college campuses in that same time frame has gone up more than 50 percent.

Evans said one possible reason is that more students are reporting them.

"With the education that's been provided, plus also the services that have been given to people to make them feel more comfortable in reporting, I do believe it has helped people to come forward and report," she said.

"People are just coming forward, it's not necessarily something to be ashamed of nowadays," student Nate Stevens said. "So people are more comfortable in reporting it."

Evans said a lot of the times, the sex assaults reported are acquaintance rapes, meaning those involved know each other.

In addition to the increase of reported sex crimes, the report says alcohol consumption has gone up.

"It's not a stretch to put those two together and say with the increased amount of alcohol use, it can be associated to the sexual assaults," Evans said.

Evans encourages students to stay with their friends throughout the evening, plan a safe ride home and never walk alone.
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