UNC annual crime report shows rise in interpersonal violence

Friday, October 7, 2016

CHAPEL HILL, NC (WTVD) -- University police at UNC Chapel Hill recently released annual crime statistics for 2015 and incidents of stalking, dating violence and domestic violence have risen since 2013.

According to the report those incidents are up from 25 incidents in 2013 to 68 incidents in 2015, with reports of domestic violence rising from 5 to 15, dating violence rising from 6 to 18 and stalking 14 to 35.

Also notable in the report, reported incidents of rape are down from 26 in 2014 to 21 in 2015. No data is shown for 2013.

Students at UNC expressed concerns and questions about what the numbers might mean. University Police Chief Jeff McCracken said the rise in the number of reports may be attributed to the increase in campus safety programs.


"Those data categories are relatively new to the report," MacCracken said. "So the statistics are relatively new as far as the reports go.

"We believe the increase on our campus is primarily due to the campus's focus on promoting services that are available for those individuals who have experienced some act of interpersonal violence, and it's encouraged people to report more than they might have in the past."

One of those service is the "Safe at UNC" website, which MacCracken said his department shares with students who may be a victim of such a crime.

Still, some students question whether the number may be a rise in the number of people coming forward, or truly a rise in interpersonal crimes.

WATCH - Students react to UNC's annual crime report stats on interpersonal violence

Sarah Rhyne and Breanna Taylor are both UNC students advocating for awareness of relationship violence on campus Thursday as part of a multi-organizational effort on campus to highlight October as Domestic Violence Awareness month.

Taylor is a Title IX intern for the school's Equal Opportunity Office. She thinks the university is making tangible efforts to curb this type of behavior on campus but that there's always more that could be done.


"I think the university is trying," Taylor said. "There are a lot of resources available on campus, and I think that a lot of the resources have made themselves present to students, it's just, I think, difficult for students sometimes to realize how many options there are and how safe they are."

Rhyne is an intern for the Carolina Women's Center for Relationship Violence and said while she hopes more people have felt comfortable in reporting, she still feels uneasy about the statistics.

"There is sort of an uneasiness about reporting, but that's not how it should be, Rhyne said.

"DPS, and our different Title IX office and our different resources on campus should be used, and so it's good that they're being used, I just don't know if they're being used all the way that they could be."


MacCracken said any number of crime is too much, but that overall, the campus is safe.

"Across the board if you look at all the crime categories indicated in the report our campus is a relatively safe place, MacCracken said.

"Now, that absolutely doesn't mean that we're immune to these types of incidents obviously, from the data you see that, but like I said any of these incidents, occurrence of these incidents, is too much.

"And we try to address each one of them and reduce the numbers, but overall if you look at these numbers, the report of these numbers, the data reflects that the campus is a safe place."

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