ABILENE, Texas - Sexual assaults at colleges and universities have become a growing problem in the last decade.
An education department study shows that 3,300 sex crimes were reported nationally in 2011, which was the last time data was analyzed. That's compared to 2,200 reported in 2001 – a 52-percent increase between the two decades.
No such offenses have been reported at Abilene Christian University, Hardin-Simmons University or McMurry University for at least the past two years.
The Abilene Christian University Police Department, along with security at McMurry University, gave advice on how to prevent these crimes from taking place and what they do for students.
"We give training on how to report and when to report," said Randy Motz, lieutenant of the ACU Police Department. "We do freshmen orientation, where we talk about the topic of sexual assault. ACU has even hosted some training sessions in regards to dating relationships."
The majority of sexual crimes are committed by someone who knew the victim.
According to the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault, at least 80 percent of these crimes are by acquaintances.
"It's a little bit of a myth that someone is going to hop out of a bush with a ski mask on," Motz said. "What happens in majority of these cases is it's someone that you know, it's someone you're dating, it's someone you go to class with."
On campus, both universities offer emergency call boxes in case of trouble: 10 at ACU with 10, six at McMurry.
Besides that, they recommend developing good relationships with on-duty campus officers and counselors.
Off campus, they say to stay in groups while at parties and other events – and to avoid suspicious situations. Don't be afraid to pull your friends some situations as well.
If someone has already become a victim, they encourage them to call the police, campus security, or a counselor.
"I encourage everyone to report that crime as quickly as possible," Motz said. "So law enforcement can have the best chance possible to solve that crime."
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