The number of reported rapes on Harvard’s Cambridge campus dropped to 27 in 2016, down from over 30 the year before, according to the Harvard University Police Department’s Annual Security Report.
The decrease in reported rapes, however, came with an increase in non-consensual fondling reports, which grew from six to 11 cases in 2016.
Only two of the rapes reported at Harvard were deemed by HUPD to be “unfounded,” which encompasses crimes that are “found to be false or baseless” after an investigation by the police.
Though only Brown saw more reported rapes than Harvard on Ivy League campuses this year, the then-director of Harvard’s Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response said in 2016 that the relatively high report rate may indicate a greater awareness of resources for victims of sexual assault.
Yale followed Harvard with 24 reported rapes this year, while Cornell’s police department saw the fewest reported rapes, with only two in 2016.
The year also saw an increase in dating violence reports, from 12 to 21. According to HUPD, the category is defined as “violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.”
One case of each rape, fondling, aggravated assault and dating violence were also reported on the Longwood campus, which, besides five burglaries, constituted the only crimes reported in the area.
In addition to sexual offenses and dating violence, Harvard’s Cambridge campus also saw a significant rise in burglaries on campus, which constituted the plurality of reported crimes. In 2016, HUPD received 70 total burglary reports, a steep increase from roughly 40 in both 2015 and 2014 putting Harvard first in reported burglaries on campus among the Ivy League. For comparison, Yale, which reported the next highest burglary count, saw 37 reports.
Harvard is required to release an Annual Security Report and Annual Fire Report every year in accordance with the Clery Act. This year’s report, titled “Playing it Safe,” was sent to Harvard affiliates via email on Oct. 1 and details crime statistics from the 2014 to 2016 calendar years. In his greeting prefacing the report, HUPD Chief of Police Francis “Bud” D. Riley reported that roughly 93 percent of all crime on Harvard’s campus is property crime, but that the urban campus poses challenges to safety.
“Although reported crime at Harvard is low… it is important for students, faculty, staff, and visitors to remember that we are located in an urban setting, and must contend with many of the crime and safety issues that exist in any city,” Riley wrote.—Staff writer Michael E. Xie can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelEXie1.
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