DTM safety has again become the focus of national news in light of the disappearance of Hannah Graham, who was last seen outside Tempo restaurant on September 13. A recent article in USAToday ran with the theme of “differing sense of security” between UVA campus and the Downtown Mall area, suggesting the DTM is far more dangerous.
“It’s never been safe down here late at night,” says a Mall waitress. “People think that because the campus is so safe and secure, it’s safe everywhere in Charlottesville. It’s just not.”
Really? USA Today seems to have neglected the recently released UVA crime data for 2013, during which there were 15 reported rapes and fondlings on grounds. Past reports say there were 14 in 2012, 14 in 2011, and 17 reported rapes in 2010. In addition, UVA is currently under federal investigation for allegedly mishandling the investigation of a 2011 rape of a third-year UVA student. Heck, there’s even a website called UVA Victims of Rape. Oh, and as you may recall, the same weekend Hannah Graham disappeared, UVA police reported there were two reported sexual assaults, one near Wertland Street, and another on nearby 15th Street NW.
While current crime stats for the DTM weren’t immediately available, this reporter viewed crime stats on the Mall area for 2013 last year, and while there were a number of public disturbances, simple assaults, and other minor crimes, rapes were non-existent.
Not sure where this “the Mall is dangerous” stuff is coming from, as the statistical evidence clearly doesn’t back that notion up. Maybe its because the Mall is an urban setting, with different kinds of people? Who knows. But when it comes to violence against women around here, we’d say the New York Times got it right.
DTM is maintained by Charlottesville journalist David McNair. Got a news item or new listing? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.