The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Police Department is investigating a rape reported on Feb. 29 by reviewing camera footage and potentially interviewing witnesses, according to UNLPD police operations captain John Backer.
A safety message UNLPD emailed to students on March 2 stated that the assault occurred in a UNL residence hall and that the victim knew her attacker. Backer said UNLPD did not know the exact location.
In February 2020, disturbances of the “other” category were the most frequently reported crime with 16 reports, which was an increase of 33% from 12 reports in February 2019. Non-reportable hit and run accidents followed with 12 reports, and non-reportable accidents had 10 reports.
Crime increased overall by 16% from 115 reports in 2019 to 133 reports in 2020, according to the UNLPD Daily Crime & Fire Log.
On Feb. 10, UNLPD received a report that two unknown males attempted to steal the Greek lettering off the Pi Beta Phi sorority house, according to the crime log. Backer said the suspects had tried to steal the letters Western style with a lasso. The suspects left the rope hanging on the Greek letters when women in the sorority saw them. Backer said UNLPD is using CCTV footage, which is footage for security or surveillance purposes, to identify the suspects.
Backer said UNLPD’s cameras are focused solely on public areas and are only used to solve crimes and monitor areas that see an increase in crime.
Two vehicles in the Kappa Kappa Gamma parking lot were reported broken into on Feb. 20, according to the crime log. Backer said there were no signs of forced entry because the vehicles had been unlocked, and the victims said some loose change may have been stolen.
Through another unrelated case, Backer said UNLPD has a suspect and is waiting for video footage from the sorority to confirm if he matches the description of the man who broke into the vehicles.
On Feb. 8, a non-university affiliate reported a staff member may be using illegal drugs, according to the crime log. UNLPD was unable to validate the claim, and Backer said the officer for the case found information that led him to believe the person who reported the crime had a personal vendetta with the accused staff member. He said the case was closed because UNLPD didn’t have enough evidence to support the claim.
A student living in University Suites reported to UNLPD that her laundry had been stolen on Feb. 27, according to the crime log. Backer said the student had put her laundry in the washer and left it for about nine hours during the day. When she returned, her laundry was missing. UNLPD contacted University Housing and discovered they had removed it, and the student got all of her laundry back.
Another student reported on Feb. 18 that he noticed his jacket had been stolen from a laundry room in University Suites eight days after doing his laundry, according to Backer. He said the student noticed a jacket was missing while putting his clothes away several days after he washed the clothes. Backer said it is more difficult for UNLPD to locate a single jacket compared to a whole load of laundry, and University Housing did not have the jacket.
Backer said crime needs three things to be present: a desire to commit a crime, an available target, such as property or a person and an opportunity. Without one of these criteria, crime can be prevented. He said students can remove the opportunity from certain crimes, like locking their car doors and watching their valuables to avoid theft.
Backer said safety at UNL is a shared responsibility between UNLPD and the campus.