TBI releases crime report for TN college campuses; UTC says their numbers are good
Overall, crime is down on Tennessee college campuses, but according to a new TBI report, reported rapes jumped sharply.
"A campus that claims to have no crime, is a campus that's not telling the truth about its crime numbers," said Chuck Cantrell, UTC spokesperson.
Crime reported by Tennessee colleges and universities decreased by 6.3% from 2013 to 2014, with only 6,329 offenses reported last year. Of those offenses, 32% were theft. It's a problem Cantrell says they deal with the most.
"People leaving their dorm room unlocked, people leaving their cars unlocked. Things like that, so most of our crime tends to be property related," said Cantrell.
115 thefts were reported for 2014 at UTC, down from 128 the year prior. Liquor and drug violations were up on the campus though. Cantrell says that's because they're enforcing the rules. "We're just encouraging resident assistants and students to come forward and if there's something happening in their dorm room on campus that they're aware of to bring it forward to the campus," said Cantrell.
Sexual offenses were up 74 percent across the state, at 46 reported rapes, up from 26 in 2013. UTC had a sexual offenses reported both years. However, students, like Abigail Edwards, aren't convinced the number is really that low. "Those numbers are great, but that can't be accurate," said Edwards. She believes there are many who don't come forward.
Cantrell says that's something the school takes in to account and is trying to change, so that everyone feels comfortable reporting no matter the crime committed.
"I think what we're really seeing is a change in the climate, efforts by the campuses to say- we want to know," said Cantrell. "We can't address things if we don't know about them."
School officials say another crime report will come out in October, issued by the student judicial offices.
To see the full report, click here.