CCU annual safety report shows increase in sex offenses on campus

CCU annual safety report shows increase in sex offenses on campus

CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) – Coastal Carolina University released its annual Clery Report, which provides information on crimes that occurred on campus.

The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near campuses.

The 2019 report includes statistics from January 2016 to December 2018.

The report tracks several types of crimes including murder, robbery and sexual assaults.

According to the report, forcible sex offenses on campus have increased. It shows there were 21 reported cases in 2018, compared to 13 the year before.

There was also a spike in dating violence on campus. The university defines dating violence as “violence by a person who has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the victim which will be gauged by its length, type and frequency of interaction.

The report shows there were nine cases of dating violence in 2018. There were seven cases in 2017.

The university does have protective measures in place for victims of sexual offenses on campus which include moving the accuser or accused to accommodate the victim’s safety and security, providing counseling services and helping the accuser obtain a protection order or no-contact order.

CCU also provided a statement Tuesday regarding the report:

“Coastal Carolina University is located in the midst of multiple law enforcement jurisdictions. As a result, CCU’s police force, comprised of sworn and certified officers who have graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, is a primary responder to criminal activity in surrounding areas not on CCU’s campus and often not involving CCU students. Consequently, Coastal Carolina’s reporting of criminal activity includes incidents that would not be reported otherwise. Additionally, a reported incident does not necessarily mean that a crime occurred or that arrests or convictions resulted.

CCU’s dedicated and highly capable law enforcement team is expertly trained and nationally recognized (the National Association of Campus Safety Administrators unanimously selected CCU investigator Charles Kessler as 2018 Officer of the Year), employing state-of-the-art technology including camera systems, license tag readers, and investigation techniques to ensure that all crimes are reported and laws are enforced."

As the metropolitan area in which we are located continues to grow rapidly, CCU will continue striving to implement innovative strategies to safeguard this campus."

Tracy Bowie, the executive director of the Rape Crisis Center, said the numbers do not shock her.

“We’ve actually seen an increase here in the number of sexual assault cases that we’ve had reported from the same time last year, so not really surprised by that just in seeing it go up overall," Bowie said. "We know that quite a few have been students at the university.”

Bowie said sexual assault on college campuses nationwide is a growing problem.

“A lot of sexual assaults happen on campus a lot of times," she said. "Freshmen are the most likely to report a sexual assault.”

Bowie said the problem is not just on CCU’s campus, but across the whole county.

“Overall, we’ve seen the number of rapes in Horry County go up," she said. “They’ve risen at least 6%. Our numbers pretty much have doubled from last year in the number of people that have reported to the emergency room.”

Bowie said it’s important to note that not every case of sexual assault gets reported. She also said it’s possible the number of reported cases went up because victims are becoming more willing to report incidents to police.

There was a decrease in robbery reports on campus. The Clery Report shows there were zero robbery cases on campus in 2018 compared to two in 2017.

The report also shows a drop in aggravated assault cases. There were three reported cases in 2018, compared to five in 2017.

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