The semester at many area college campuses is in full swing. Students shuffle between classes, sports and extracurricular activities. Crime is not high on their list of concerns.
Every Oct. 1, colleges and universities nationwide must disclose information about crime on and near their campuses. The disclosure is part of the Clery Act, a federal law named for Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old Lehigh University freshman who was raped and murdered in her dorm room in 1986. Backlash about unreported crimes on campuses across the country prompted the feds to require schools to create public campus security reports.
At the University of Vermont, police services collect and compile crime statistics. One category is forcible sex offenses, defined as any sex act directed at another person against their will.
According to the report, the number of rapes more than doubled on UVM's campus between 2011 and 2012. With 12 rapes last year, five in 2011 and eight in 2010.
"It feels safe here, but I guess that's the worst part about it is that a place can feel really safe and maybe it's not as safe as we all think it is. That's what catches girls off guard," said Emily Snowden, a freshman at UVM.
Dartmouth College saw a slight decrease, with 11 rapes on campus in 2012 compared to 12 in each of the previous two years.
At St. Michael's College, one rape was reported in the last three years, occurring on campus in 2012.
Six students were raped on the campus of Norwich University last year, compared to seven in 2011 and three in 2010.
At Middlebury College, the rape rate has held constant with five forcible sexual assaults in 2012 and 2011. There were four in 2010.
Champlain College reports no rapes on campus in the last three years.
These statistics come with a caveat. They only represent the number of forcible sexual assaults reported. Experts say the numbers are likely higher because often times these types of crimes go unreported.
We focused on violent sex assaults, but these reports are also required to disclose statistics on the number of robberies, burglaries, assaults, arsons, car break-ins and hate crimes, as well as drug, alcohol and weapons offenses.
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