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Annual Crime and Fire Safety Report finds increase in sexual assaults, decrease in liquor, drug violations

UMKC Police released its annual crime and fire safety report, finding an increase in sexual assaults from recent years. 

In 2018, there were nine reported sexual assaults, up from three sexual assaults in 2016.  

When asked about the cause for the rise in sexual assaults, UMKC Police Department Sgt. Timothy Layman said it’s impossible to answer the question definitively.

“We believe there has been an increase in recent years in the willingness of victims to come forward and report these assaults,” Layman said.

Layman’s explanation fits in well with national trends, with U.S. News & World Report finding that victims were more likely to report their attacks in 2017 than in 2016.

The number of liquor and drug law violations on campus has decreased by a drastic amount. In 2016, there were 51 liquor law violations, plummeting to 20 in 2017 and falling again to just eight in 2018. 

The same trend is seen in drug law violations, as well, with a decrease from 21 to eight in the past two years. Last year’s total violations were the lowest in a seven-year span from 2011 to 2018. 

These numbers may be surprising to many, especially considering that nearby Rockhurst University has seen an increase in both violations since 2016. Rockhurst had 131 liquor law violations and 19 drug law violations in 2018, as documented in its Clery Act Report.

The 1990 Clery Act required all public universities to disclose their campus crime statistics. The United States Department of Education, which ensures schools are compliant with the Act, can fine colleges and universities that fail to accurately report crime statistics.

Layman says there have not been any changes in how the department enforces liquor and drug laws on campus or how they collect their data. Instead, members of the department attribute the decrease in violations to stepped-up education efforts by the residential life office.

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