February sexual assaults reported by DPS

Last week, Marquette’s Department of Public Safety reported two sexual assault incidents that allegedly occurred  in February. The incidents were reported to DPS, and the Milwaukee Police Department was contacted.

DPS Capt. Russell Shaw said all the sexual assaults reported to DPS are directly investigated by MPD.

The crimes have just been written into the DPS Daily Log, despite occurring at various times throughout the academic year, because the victims chose to report them in recent weeks, Shaw said.

Statistics regarding the number of sexual assaults for 2012 have not yet been released. DPS officials were not available for comment Monday when asked for the numbers.

According to DPS’ Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, there were six sexual offenses in 2011 in the residence halls and nine total.  All three of the reported sexual offenses in 2010 allegedly took place in the residence halls, also according to the report.

Shaw said sexual assault and robbery are the crimes reported most often in the Marquette area. Shaw said these two types of crimes have been low this year. There has, however, been an influx of sexual assaults reported in recent weeks.

“Certainly we have had a spike in the past couple of weeks, but if you look at when they actually occurred, some of these took place in the 2012 year,” Shaw said. “That is not going to reflect on 2013.”

Shaw added that most of the alleged sexual assaults being reported occur off campus, contrary to the 2012 data which showed all of the reported sexual assaults happening in residence halls.

“The ones we have been receiving the most are in the off-campus locations,” Shaw added. “It goes back to why we are closing down really large house parties to a point where they are getting overcrowded. It goes back to how much alcohol can affect people. (Alcohol contributes to) most of the sexual assaults we deal with. Unfortunately, some of these parties are where the sexual assaults occur.”

Shaw said the administration and the resources the university provides DPS help it prevent sexual violence.

“Being proactive stops a lot of crime from happening,” Shaw said. “It is a collaborative effort with MPD that keeps our numbers low. MPD has said in the past that the Marquette area is a very safe part of Milwaukee.”

Caroline Maher, a freshman in the College of Communication, said despite DPS’ success her trust for the organization has weakened due to fear of receiving an alcohol fine.

“I want to stay away from them even more when drunk, so they’d be the last person I would call,” Maher said.

Shaw said problems like sexual assault are the reason DPS shuts down parties.

“I think when you have young individuals obviously out there blowing off some steam,” he said. “They need a release, but at the same time they have to be cognizant of what they are doing; they have to stay in control. Unfortunately, a lot of times they don’t. Our bottom line is to keep the students safe.”