Campus Police Say Increase in Reported Rapes Caused by Awareness, Discussion

Boston University. Photo by Fletcher6

By Ana Goñi-Lessan
BU News Service

Reported rapes on campus were up by 44 percent last year, an increase campus police attribute to growing public comfort with reporting the crimes.

Nationwide discussion and media coverage about sexual assault is fostering a discussion about these crimes, which have traditionally been underreported, Sgt. Dan Healy of the Boston University Police Department said this week.

Last year, 13 rapes were reported to BU police as compared to nine in 2015, Healy said.

“That’s a good thing,” Healy said. “What we want to be able to do is to help people that have been been involved in one of these incidents.”

The university must release an annual security and fire safety report to the public that details the crimes and the university’s policies and procedures, according to the Clery Act.  

Rape is defined as non-consensual penetration, according to the report.

“These are sensitive crimes, and the people that are affected by them, it’s not easy to come forward,” he said.

Sexual assault prevention is always one of the university’s priorities, said Colin Riley, a spokesperson for BU. The university encourages students to look into services at the Sexual Assault Response & Prevention Center and to sign up for bystander training, he said.

“I think people are learning that there’s a benefit to reporting it earlier to access support and services sooner,” Riley said. Not only to adjudicate the report fairly and promptly, but also to benefit the community.

“The more people talk about these issues, the greater chance we have to make this not a problem on our campus anymore,” said Maddie Hoffner, sophomore at BU.

“I feel more comfortable knowing that those affected feel more supported to report what happened to them.”

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