Weekend Rape Raises Questions About Sex Crimes Near Campus

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COLUMBIA - Over the weekend an University of Missouri student reported a rape to MUPD, marking it the fourth reported forcible rape of 2014.

In 2013, there were 63 reported forcible rapes and four reported attempted rapes in Columbia. The 63 reported rapes is a 20-year high in Columbia, but that peak could be attributed to a 2013 change in how the FBI defined rape. Before 2013, rape reports only included male on female crime. Now the statistic includes male on male and female on male rape.

Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said the rise also might not be an increase in crime, but an increase in people reporting the crimes.

"Today people are far more encouraged to report this crime than they were even ten years ago and I expect that trend will continue," Peters Baker said.

Of the 63 reported forcible rapes in Columbia in 2013, three of them took place on the MU campus. So far in 2014 there have already been two reported forcible rapes reported on Mizzou's campus.

There has also been an increase in Clery releases sent by the University of Missouri that deal with rape or sexual assaults. During the 2012-2013 school year (from August 2012 to May 2013) MU sent out four Clery releases that dealt with sexual crimes. During this school year (from August 2013 to March 10) MU has already sent six Clery releases.

The federal government requires the university to send information about crime on or near campus in Clery releases.

MUPD Captain Brian Weimer said he thinks the number of sexual crimes on Mizzou's campus have remained steady over the years and that MUPD has several programs to help prevent rape.

"We do a lot proactive programming out there to make sure that students are aware of the crimes that do happen," Weimer said. "We also inform them that the vast majority of rapes and sexual assaults that are reported are acquaintance situations."

MU hosted an event on campus Monday to discuss the problems in prosecuting and investigating rape charges. Weimer and Peters Baker both spoke at the Sexual Awareness Panel.

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