Troy University recently published its Annual Safety Report, detailing crime statistics for the 2017 calendar year that showed a seemingly low number of sexual assaults.
In accordance with the federal Clery Act, a compilation of all crimes reported to the University Police Department in 2017 was sent to the emails of all Troy faculty and students and then was published on troy.edu.
The 2017 statistics reflect six aggravated assaults, 27 burglaries and two motor vehicle thefts happened on campus during last year, among many other categories. Six instances of domestic violence were recorded.
The latest safety reports from Auburn University and the University of Alabama show similar numbers but with far more sexual assaults than Troy.
According to Susan Sarapin, an associate professor of journalism and specialist in media law, her knowledge of research in the area of the sexual assaults on college campuses shows that one-fifth, or 20 percent, of female students face sexual assault while in college.
In a college such as Troy, with around 5,000 women attending classes on campus, these statistics would show around 250 sexual assaults per year, Sarapin said.
Troy’s report shows two sexual assaults — one rape and one instance of fondling — occurring on campus in 2017, but Auburn’s latest data reports 14 instances in 2016 and Alabama’s shows 19 in 2016.
Auburn is about three times as large as Troy in terms of the number of students, but it reports almost five times as many sexual assaults. Alabama is about four times as large, but it reports over six times as many.
“I find that our Clery report statistics are not consistent with my personal statistics regarding women who have come to me to tell me of sexual assaults committed against them,” Sarapin said. “Even at the most conservative figure, at 1 percent of our 4,800 females, we should be seeing 13 sexual assaults per year.”
The discrepancy in the numbers come from the lack of reports on these assaults, explained Herbert Reeves, the dean of student services.
“Troy University reports all sexual assaults and related crimes … which are reported to campus police and/or administration,” Reeves said in an email.
In order for assaults to appear on the report, they must be reported to the campus administration.
The Troy University Police Department can be reached at 334-670-3215 and is located in Hamil Hall. For emergencies, call 911.
Editors Note: Statistics in this story were corrected after publication when the Tropolitan was contacted by the source Nov. 15.