A new government study has determined that reports of sexual assault at American colleges and universities have tripled over the past decade.
The National Center for Education Statistics recently released a report that examines school crime and safety. The NCES found that, from 2001 to 2014, the number of college sexual assault reports went from 2200 per year to 6700 per year, a staggering 205% increase.
The NCES found that “forcible sex offenses” constitute 25% of reported campus crimes, and that “the number of on-campus crimes reported in 2014 was lower than the number reported in 2001 for every category except forcible sex offenses.”
Focusing on more recent data years, the number of reported forcible sex crimes increased by 34 percent between 2013 and 2014 (from 5,000 to 6,700). It should be noted that data on reported forcible sex offenses were collected differently in 2014 than in prior years. In 2014, schools were asked to report the numbers of two different types of forcible sex offenses, rape and fondling, and these were added together to reach the total number of reported forcible sex offenses. In years prior to 2014, schools only reported a total number of reported forcible sex offenses, with no breakouts for specific types of offenses. About 4,400 rapes and 2,300 fondling incidents were reported in 2014.
In 2014, the number of crimes committed on college campuses differed by type of institution, although to some extent this reflects the enrollment size of the types and the presence of student residence halls. Crimes involving students on campus after normal class hours, such as those occurring in residence halls, are included in campus crime reports, while crimes involving students off-campus are not. In 2014, more on-campus crimes overall were reported at institutions with residence halls than at institutions without residence halls (23.8 vs. 5.4 per 10,000 students; table 22.2). Rates for most types of crime were also higher for institutions with residence halls. For example, more burglaries were reported at institutions with residence halls than at institutions without residence halls (12.2 vs. 2.3 per 10,000 students), and more forcible sex offenses were reported at institutions with residence halls than at institutions without them (6.3 vs. 0.6 per 10,000 students).
The report notes that, because enrollment increases have often eclipsed increases in on-campus crimes, the number of crimes per full time student has fallen over the years, except for cases of sexual assault.