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Several types of crime increased in campus area in latest report


Sharita Forrest, News Editor
(217) 244-1072; slforres@illinois.edu

2/28/2003

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Several types of crimes increased markedly in the University of Illinois reporting district during the Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2002, period, according to the most recent crime report.

Aggravated assaults and batteries were up more than 67 percent, to 67 incidents, from 40 incidents during that period the previous year. The number of robberies increased as well – to 17 (compared with 11 the previous year).

Additional athletic events in Champaign-Urbana and a series of attacks that are believed to have been initiated by two suspects contributed to the increased number of assaults and robberies during the fall reporting period, said police Capt. Krystal Fitzpatrick.

Eleven of the assaults and batteries were related to Illinois or Chicago Bears football games. In addition, two suspects arrested near the end of December have been charged with several attacks against Asian women in the campus area. Since those arrests, no more assaults against Asian women have been reported.

The rash of assaults was a high priority for university police and campus administration during the fall semester. Representatives from the university and the Champaign and Urbana police departments created a team to investigate and catch those responsible for the attacks. A campus group that included representatives from the university police, the chancellor’s office, student affairs and Asian-American Studies met twice weekly to address the matter.

Several measures were undertaken in response to the crimes, including increased police patrols in the campus area, expansion of the Safe Rides service and evaluation and improvement of nighttime lighting in certain locations on campus. Police safety presentations, e-mail messages and advertisements in the Daily Illini were used to alert the campus community and promote safety awareness.

During the Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2002, reporting period, the number of criminal sexual assaults reported also rose, by three, with 11 occurrences versus eight incidents during that time the prior year.

While the majority of the victims of robberies, criminal sexual assaults and aggravated assaults and batteries were Illinois students, most of these crimes occurred in the northwest quadrant of the university reporting district and not on campus. The northwest quadrant of the university reporting district is an area roughly bounded by University Avenue on the north, Daniel Street and Gregory Drive on the south, Wright Street on the east and the railroad tracks east of Neil Street on the west.

Seven of the 11 criminal sexual assaults reported between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31, 2002, occurred in the northwest quadrant, as did 10 of the 17 robberies. Likewise, nearly half (33) of the 67 aggravated assaults and batteries occurred in that area.

The majority of the crimes were perpetrated on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Males between the ages of 21 and 29 composed the majority of victims, and most of the crimes were perpetrated by strangers.

Alcohol consumption and drug use may have been a significant contributing factor in the criminal sexual assaults and aggravated assaults, as many of the victims and suspects involved had been drinking and/or using drugs.

Burglaries continued on an upward trend as well with 66 burglaries reported between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31, 2002, as opposed to 55 during the same period in 2001. Fifty-one burglaries were reported during that time in 2000, and 43 occurred during that period in 1999.

Residential burglaries also rose, from 82 to 94 incidents, during the Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2002, reporting period.

However, burglaries from motor vehicles declined 34 percent, from 80 the previous year to 53 between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31, 2002.

Burglaries of motor vehicle parts decreased as well, with only one incident reported during the 2002 period versus three incidents during that period in 2001.

The number of public indecency and peeping tom cases remained unchanged over the prior year at four; likewise, the number of home invasions remained unchanged at two.