ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — University of Georgia campus police are receiving far more rape reports in the past couple of years than in previous ones, a result of a change in how the reports are gathered, school officials said.
UGA police received nearly three times as many rape reports in 2014 than in the previous nine years combined, The Athens Banner-Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1jWbTVR).
Police received 71 rape reports in the 2014 calendar year, officials said. In records dating back to 2006, the most the police department ever reported in its annual crime statistics summary was eight, in 2012.
The higher numbers being recorded now are the result of changes in how UGA officials gather that information, UGA police spokesman Bob Taylor.
In the past, only assaults in which the victim went to police were recorded in official statistics, officials said. Beginning last year, the statistics now also include third-party reports, such as numbers reported by The Cottage of North Georgia, which provides services to sexual assault victims, Taylor said.
So far this year, UGA police have received more than 70 rape reports this year, based on daily police activity logs, the Banner-Herald reports.
Of those reports, 47 include this notation: "Reported by University official, victim declined contact with law enforcement."
An "off-campus service provider" reported 24 of them, according to police logs. That would include reports from The Cottage of North Georgia, an off-campus agency that provides services to victims of sexual assault, officials said.
Nationwide, the number of forcible sex offenses reported to college campus authorities nearly doubled between 2001 and 2012, according to a July report by the National Center for Education Statistics.
The increase in reports doesn't necessarily mean that sexual assault is on the rise. But it does mean victims have become more willing to tell what's happened to them, said Alison Kiss, executive director of the Clery Center for Security on Campus.
Kiss would like to see more victims directly reporting assaults to police for investigation and possible prosecution.
"We want them to go to law enforcement," she said.
But most don't, for a variety of reasons, she said. Sometimes victims don't know what happened to them was a sexual assault, or don't know where to go, she said.