Reported rapes at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee more than quadrupled last year, despite an overall drop in crime on college and university campuses in the state, says The Tennessean. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released its annual Crime on Campus report, which details a 12.6 percent drop in overall crime on the state's campuses. Reported rapes were up from 21 in 2006 to 25 last year. Of those, 13 were reported at Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt officials say they are encouraged by the numbers, which they call evidence that students are less afraid to come forward after an incident. The school reported three rapes in 2006. “I think it has a lot to do with outreach and letting people know you're on campus, letting them know what services you provide,” said Vicky Basra, director of Project Safe, an on-campus crisis intervention group that deals primarily with victims of sexual violence. Students were more alarmed by the statistic, but admitted they take varying degrees of safety precautions while on the campus. Vanderbilt Police Department Chief Marlon Lynch said the majority of rape cases on campus involve alcohol, and most of the victims know their assailants.