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Security report shows increased number of stalking, hate crimes

The 2019 Annual Security & Fire Safety Report detailed a jump in stalking and hate crimes cases reported on campus from 2017 to 2018. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

The 2019 Annual Security & Fire Safety Report detailed a jump in stalking and hate crimes cases reported on campus from 2017 to 2018. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

The number of reported stalking cases at the University rose significantly in 2018 by 20 percent higher than the previous year and up six times since 2015.

The 2019 Annual Security & Fire Safety Report released Thursday by UHPD details campus crime statistics and security information as required by federal law.

The rise in reported stalking cases has been steady over the three years, beginning with the biggest jump from 15 cases to 53 from 2015 to 2016.

While the increase slowed from 2016 to 2017, it still rose by 22 cases. In the most recent report, the number once again jumped to 17 more cases than the previous year.

UHPD and Equal Opportunity Services said the surge in stalking cases can be blamed on social media, dating apps and the rise of depictions of stalking in the media.

The departments said they are taking preemptive measures to keep students safe. EOS along with several other campus departments had mandatory reporter training to all faculty and staff.

Information is also provided to employees during weekly New Hire Orientation presentations. The presentations include discussions about “red flags” for stalking behavior, like a student saying someone will not leave them alone, said EOS Interim Assistant Vice Chancellor and Vice President Toni Sanchez Benoit in an email.

If students begin to notice they are being followed, getting repeated text messages or have the feeling of being watched, UHPD Sgt. Dina Padovan said for students to trust their instincts and contact the police.

“Don’t communicate with the stalker or respond to attempts to contact you,” Padovan said in an email. “Keep evidence of the stalking and share with law enforcement. Don’t erase messages, phone calls or text messages.”

The number of hate crime incidents rose from one in 2017 to four in 2018. The rise does not follow a significant trend, because both 2018 and 2017 numbers are down from seven cases in 2016. The majority of the offenses were based around race, according to the report.

“Hate Crimes are taken very seriously,” Padovan said. “UHPD utilizes all available resources, follows all leads and partners with other agencies to identify any similarities or trends shared among groups.”

Most other crimes and offenses had the same or less reported cases in 2018 than they did in 2017, though some crimes did see increases.

The number of dating violence cases went up by three to 38 in total, but was still less than the reported 43 in 2016. Car theft cases also went up by one, from 27 to 28. Liquor law arrests increased to 15 in 2018 from six in 2017.

There were violations that decreased dramatically from years prior as well.

The amount of burglaries decreased to 47 from 61 in 2017. Drug violation arrests feel 36 percent to 53 reported cases in 2018.

Rape and aggravated assault both were consistent with the numbers reported in 2017 and 2018, both 11 respectively. Robberies on campus also decreased by one in 2018 from the year prior.

There were no murders or any types of manslaughter reported in 2018.

Padovan said the best ways to stay safe are to be mindful and vigilant by not posting your whereabouts in real-time on social media and to double check privacy settings.

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