The University of South Carolina saw an increase in the number of reported rapes and alcohol violations in 2017 compared to the last three years, according to newly released statistics.
In 2017, there were nine reported rapes on campus compared to four in 2016 and five in 2015. Seven of the offenses allegedly occurred in on-campus residence halls and two were on campus but not in dorms, according to the 2018 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.
“USC has worked to educate students about the issue of sexual assault and to create an environment where survivors know how to reach out for help. There is also a larger societal conversation taking place about sexual assault, and the increase in our reports hopefully demonstrates that survivors feel empowered to come forward,” university spokesman Jeff Stensland said in an email. “We strongly encourage students who are are survivors of sexual assault as well as those who may know someone who is to contact law enforcement or our Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention & Prevention, or SAVIP, office. We have staff available 24/7 to offer counseling and guidance.”
Students who need to speak with a SAVIP advocate can call 803-777-8248 during business hours or USC’s police department after hours at 803-777-4215 to speak with a SAVIP advocate, according to the university’s website. Those seeking a SAVIP advocate do not need to provide identifying information, according to the website.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The State
Arrests for aggravated assaults were also slightly up from the previous year, increasing from one to three. Burglaries in residence halls were up from seven to 15, while motor vehicle thefts were down from 65 to 54, according to the report.
No hate crimes were reported between 2015 and 2017, according to the report.
The statistics, which the federal Clery Act require to be published, detail the number of criminal arrests for violent crimes and the number of students referred to university disciplinary action for lesser offenses.
Outside serious crimes, the most striking increase in university disciplinary proceedings is for alcohol violations. In 2017, 719 students were referred to university disciplinary proceedings for liquor law violations, which is more than double the amount referred in 2015, the report shows.
However, the number of students arrested for alcohol violations has actually gone down from 39 in 2015 and 2016 to 30 in 2017, according to the report.
“Typically alcohol violations are handled by Resident Advisors and referred to the student conduct office,” Stensland said in an email. “If other criminal activity is suspected, such as drug use or an assault, then police will be called to investigate. USCPD does also get calls calls for assistance from students about roommates or friends who are intoxicated. We treat those from a student discipline referral, but do not seek criminal charges.”
In 2016, two people were arrested on campus for illegal weapons possession, while no students were referred to university discipline for illegal weapons possession. The next year, none were arrested on campus for illegal weapons possession while six students were referred to discipline for illegal weapons possession, the report says.
“All of those cases involved knives that were longer than housing policy allows, such as machetes,” Stensland said. “There was one violation that involved a pocketknife possessed by a student trying to come through a student gate at a football stadium. The possession of a knife is not illegal in S.C., so we did not file any criminal charges in that case.”
The opposite phenomenon has happened with drug offenses. While there has been an increase in criminal arrests for drug offenses on USC’s campus since 2015, the number of students referred to discipline for drug offenses has decreased.
Here are the last three years of crime statistics, according to the 2018 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.
FBI Crime Index crimes
|Type of crime||2015||2016||2017|
|Manslaughter by negligence||0||0||0|
|Motor vehicle theft||41||65||54|
Statistics for Violence Against Women Act offenses
|Type of crime||2015||2016||2017|
Other criminal arrests
Type of crime
|Illegal weapons possession||1||2||0|
|Drug law violations||139||141||166|
|Liquor law violations||39||39||30|
|Type of violation||2015||2016||2017|
|Illegal weapons possession||9||0||6|