UMass is a city unto itself with its own PD (but not FD)
Rape is not only an under reported crime but those that are officially reported to authorities almost never make it into local news. And if a tree falls in the forest without someone posting it to social media, it does not make a sound.
My friends in the professional bricks and mortar media covered yesterday's annual release of the Clery Crime Report with optimistic headlines about the decrease in alcohol and drug arrests from the previous year at our beloved flagship, UMass/AMHERST.
But they barely mentioned the shocking number of rapes that occurred (17). Or cover the even more shocking number at Hampshire College (15) or Amherst College (12).
Only the Mass Daily Collegian seemed to get it
I say shocking because they all went pretty much unreported all year long and we are only now being given the information. Sort of.
As a father of two daughters I am far more concerned with a school's incidence of rape than I am with alcohol/drug violations, although my guess is they are somewhat related.
Back in 2012 I broke the story of the gang rape at UMass and within 12 hours dozens of media outlets converged on UMass for a hasty press conference. But I can only think of one or two rapes that has been reported by the media in the past few years.
The first step in solving a problem is to admit there is a problem. And when our little college town had 58 rapes last year I would call that a problem. Yes, I said 58. (In 2014 the sad total was 48).
According to APD they had 14 reported rapes in 2015, but the University and Colleges are there own separate little fiefdoms.
UMass had 17, Hampshire College 15 and Amherst College 12 or a total between all four agencies of 58. Or out of a population of 38,000 a much higher than average of 1.53/1,000, where federal Department of Justice statistics show nationwide an average of 1.3/1,000.
Whenever I live tweet a potential threat at UMass be it a wandering bear, guy with a machete or Creepy Clown, it gets tremendous attention. And I hope that puts the kids on guard, as well it should (with everything except clowns).
Note to college aged women: be on guard!