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Crime on Campus
College is supposed to be a place for people to learn, but Fox 25 found out it can also be a place for crime. We found out which campuses in our area have the most.
Using data from the U.S. Department of Education, we analyzed certain crimes at the three major public universities in the area. We spoke with campus police to find out what they're doing to try to cut down on crime.
"Thefts here, I think is a big problem," said Raleigh Hallum.
After transferring to the University of Oklahoma from a school in Texas, Raleigh Hallum faced his first experience of theft on campus when his textbook was stolen.
"I had just went to get some water," said Hallum. "It was in my eyesight. I turned around literally for two seconds. It was gone."
"Crime is going to occur anyplace where you have a large number of people assembled," said Lt. Mark Shearer of the OSU Campus Police Department. "It happens."
But just how much crime is happening on college campuses in Oklahoma?
"Well, you always hear about people leaving their phones or iPods or their backpacks down when they get some food and coming back and they'll be gone," said OSU sophomore, Alex Budke.
We looked at burglary cases at Oklahoma's three major public universities. Reported burglary cases were down at the University of Central Oklahoma last year from 2010. But both the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University saw an increase in burglaries over the same time period.
2008 - 33 50
2009 - 40 66
2010- 26 35
2011- 29 41
"A lot of people will have their bikes being taken on campus and sometimes they turn up, but most of the time they don't," said OSU senior, Jennifer Gilliland.
"We've had situations where people have simply walked into open classrooms and removed projectors," said Lt. Shearer.
Lt. Mark Shearer with OSU's Campus Police says the police department keeps tabs on campus crime and increases security if there's a rise.
"Try to determine whether there's additional measures we can take to better secure that facility, whichever that may be," said Lt. Shearer.
We also looked at reported aggravated assault cases at the three universities.
"Aggravated assault usually is where there is significant bodily harm done to an individual," said Lt. Shearer.
Lt. Shearer remembers one aggravated assault case that happened at OSU a few years ago.
"A man and woman were arguing about what was for dinner and he wanted his dinner and he wanted it now," said Lt. Shearer. "So the woman went into the kitchen and removed a bag of frozen pork chops and walked into the dining area where he was seated and hit him on the back of the head with the frozen pork chops."
In 2011, both OSU and OU did not have a rise in aggravated assault cases on campus.
2008- 2 0
2009 - 1 4
2010 - 3 1
2011 - 1 1
OSU's Police Department says it tries to take a proactive approach to catch the crimes before they occur.
"We're trying to intercede early enough to prevent that from happening," said Lt. Shearer.
But there was a slight increase in the crimes at UCO.
2008 - 1
2009 - 0
2011 - 2
"To those victims, that's very significant," said Chief Jeffrey Harp of UCO Campus Police.
Aggravated assault cases on UCO's campus grew from 0 in 2010, to 2 in 2011. But UCO's Chief of Police says the campus has measures in place to cut down on crime.
"We have two officers, no less than two officers on duty and they patrol everywhere," said Chief Harp. "Residence halls, parking lots, faculty buildings. All the time."
"It's just sad because nothing's safe anymore," said Hallum.
Meanwhile, it cost Hallum more than $80 to replace his stolen textbook.
"Really expensive," said Hallum.
But the theft taught him an important lesson.
"Watch your stuff," said Hallum. "Make sure you don't leave your book anywhere and keep an eye on everything."
Crime on Campus - Part 2
In 2006, the National Criminal Justice Reference Service estimated more than 11% of women in college were raped. However, we found out many rape victims stay silent. Experts says more than half of sex crimes don't get reported to police. We checked out how many forcible sex offenses were reported at major college campuses in our area and we found out, last year one university had a 550% increase in reported sex crimes.
"I actually came to this college thinking it was going to be a decent campus and not knowing that any of this was going to happen," said UCO freshman, Blake Schloss.
Blake Schloss' views of college changed after her friend told her she was raped.
"I cried when she told me," said Schloss. "It was really upsetting to know that could happen to her."
Schloss' friend was the second person to report a sex crime on the University of Central Oklahoma's campus within a one month period this year. But UCO has the lowest rate of reported sex crimes out of the three universities we analyzed. We looked at reported cases of forcible sex crimes at the three major universities near the metro.
"Forcible sex offenses, typically someone who forces somebody into a sexual arrangement that they do not want," said Lt. Mark Shearer, of OSU Campus Police.
Both the University of Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University saw a slight increase from 2010 to 2011.
FORCIBLE SEX OFFENSES:
2008- 1 3
2009- 2 6
2010- 2 3
2011- 3 6
"We don't have someone here on campus stalking people with sexual assault online," said UCO Spokesman, Charlie Johnson. "These, based on what we know from these incidents, these are acquaintances."
On September 23rd, the first of two alleged sex crimes on UCO's campus were reported to police within a one month period.
"We are very concerned here," said Johnson.
The Oklahoma County District Attorney charged Elvis Perkins with "sexual battery" after police say he fondled another man in a campus dorm room.
"It is very scary to think that a safe campus could have something happen like that to somebody," said UCO senior, Sarah Tillotson.
Weeks later, there was a reported rape from UCO's Central Plaza dorm.
"She didn't deserve that," said Schloss. "Nobody deserves that."
"In the 12 years that I've been here, I have not seen these kinds of crimes being reported in such close proximity to each other," said Johnson. "And it's very upsetting."
The University of Oklahoma saw the highest rise in reported forcible sex offenses.
FORCIBLE SEX OFFENSES:
2008 - 3
2009 - 2
2010 - 2
In 2010, there were two reported cases on the OU campus. But last year, that number went up to 13.
"It's a really really big increase," said OU freshman, Sarah Quinn.
"13," asked OU junior Raleigh Hallum. "That's pretty messed up."
We asked an OU spokesperson why there was an increase in sex crimes on campus. In a statement, Catherine Bishop said, "We have made a concerted effort to educate students about the importance of reporting crimes."
"They have put a bigger emphasis on the emergency numbers and always knowing who to call," said Quinn. "There's always a place like the emergency posts where you can call for help."
"So many go unreported," said Wendy Joseph.
UCO's Violence Prevention Coordinator, Wendy Joseph says 65% of sex crimes do not get reported to police, so there are likely more victims.
"There's not a real big incentive for people to come forward," said Joseph. "Unfortunately, it's not a real pleasant experience."
There are several reasons why Joseph says so many victims stay silent.
"People fear retaliation," said Joseph. "I think people fear just people not believing them and it's embarrassing to them."
Joseph says women between the ages of 16 and 24 are most at risk of becoming the victims of a sex crime.
"So freshman women are really in the highest danger zone," said Joseph.
The National Criminal Justice Reference Service says forcible rapes are the third most common violent crime on college campuses.
"I've heard of you know girls, the emergency call buttons around campus, girls running from people and pressing the buttons," said OSU sophomore, Alex Budke.
"It is very scary because if you knew that person or that could've been you," said UCO senior, Sarah Tillotson.
As Joseph's office works to try to prevent these kinds of crimes from happening, she hopes victims have the strength to come forward and the actual crimes start to decline.
"One is way too many," said Joseph.
And Schloss' friend's experience taught her a valuable lesson about staying safe.
"Well, it just makes you have to be aware of who you're hanging out with and make sure you have other people with you," said Schloss. "Multiple people with you at all times."
So far, the District Attorney has not filed charges against the person who was accused of the rape at UCO on October 19th.
The Coordinator of UCO's Violence Prevention Project says rape victims are more likely to be attacked by someone they know, rather than a stranger. She says "stranger rapes" do occur, but typically the suspect is someone the victim trusts.
FOX 25 - INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER
Posted: Tuesday, November 20 2012, 10:16 PM CST
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Tulsa agencies assisting in Moore recovery
May 22, 2013 07:50 GMT
TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- The city of Tulsa is sending a contingent of workers to help with the recovery in Moore, including its coordinator for grants.
The city said Tuesday that the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency deputy director and the city's finance and grants coordinator are helping with communication efforts.
At the request of emergency managers, the city sent an urban search and rescue team to help with the search at Plaza Towers Elementary School, which collapsed in the tornado.
The Tulsa police sent an incident management team to assist as needed at Moore.
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