IUPUI students can take preventative measures against sex crimes

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Sexual crimes have been steadily rising over the past three years on IUPUI’s campus. From fondling to rape, female students are feeling more and more uncomfortable with the rise in crime.


“It feels like all I see on social media is getting [me] really paranoid to walk by myself,” IUPUI junior Liza Fortozo said. “Since I work and go to school downtown I have pepper spray and a window breaker on me most of the time just to feel extra safe.”


According to the Indiana University Annual Security and Fire Safety report, reported rapes increased from four to 11 from 2016 to 2018. Reported fondlings increased from one to 14.


Four rapes and five fondling incidents were reported to the Indiana University Police Department last semester. 


One of the contributing factors to the increase in sexual-related crimes on campus is dating apps like Tinder.


“We just caution folks,” IUPD public information office April Mantel said. “Be careful about what you share and how you use social media.”


In addition to IUPD’s Daily Crime Log, there is also an internal email notification system for students and faculty. These emails, titled “Crime Notice,” are sent out as a warning to potential dangers on campus. 


These notices contain four elements: the reported offense, the time and location of the offense, a potential suspect(s), and safety tips. The tips include establishing consent, personal safety (telling others where you are and staying in well-lit areas among other things), and being careful about who you meet up with.


“The most important part [of Crime Notices] is the safety tips,” Mantel said. “The whole idea is to provide [students] with enough information so that you can make your own decisions about your own safety.”


Compliance and administration Lt. Heather Braun echoed those thoughts.


“Don’t just read the title,” Braun said. “We really want everybody to go through that Crime Notice, the alert, and read and heed all of that information that we put into those.”


While self-awareness and caution can help decrease a student’s odds of being attacked, they don’t guarantee safety. IUPUI and IUPD give other options to further ensure student safety.


All IUPUI students have free access to the RAVE Guardian app, which allows them to virtually walk with friends or family. One’s location is shared when enabled, letting those friends and family, as well as IUPD, keep track of their location. Through the app, the police can be contacted via a one-click 9-1-1 button.


If that’s not enough, IUPD offers the “SafeWalk” program which gives free police walking escorts to students and faculty anywhere on campus. This service is offered 24 hours a day, every day of the year. To be escorted, students/faculty should call 317-274-SAFE (7233) and can expect an officer to arrive within 15 minutes.


IUPUI also offers the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) class that teaches self-defense. This program is taught across the country by trained professionals.


While police can’t be everywhere at once and some situations are unavoidable, students can give themselves a better chance by taking advantage of the resources at their disposal. 

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