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Robberies, criminal sexual assaults increase, U. of I. police report

Sharita Forrest, News Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Robberies and criminal sexual assaults were up significantly in the University of Illinois reporting district from Sept. 1, 2003, through Aug. 31, 2004, according to statistics released this week by the University of Illinois Division of Public Safety.

Forty-nine robberies were reported during the period, up from 37 robberies the prior year and 41 during the same period in 2001-2002.

Twenty-nine criminal sexual assaults were reported, compared with 21 the prior year and 22 during the 2001-2002 period.

However, aggravated assaults and batteries declined slightly, to 111 crimes from 116 crimes the prior year. During the 2001-2002 period, 112 aggravated assaults and batteries occurred.

There were 18 incidents of peeping toms and public indecency during the 2003-2004 reporting period, down slightly from 19 the prior year, but up significantly from the 11 incidents reported during the 2001-2002 reporting period.

Consistent with prior years, most of the crime during the 2003-2004 reporting period occurred in areas adjacent to the campus, not on university grounds. Eighty-three percent (41) of the 49 robberies and 85 percent (95) of the 111 aggravated assaults and batteries occurred within the areas bordering campus.

An area of particular concern is an area known as the northwest quadrant, roughly bounded by University Avenue on the north, Gregory Drive on the south, Wright Street on the east and the railroad tracks just east of Neil Street on the west.

The late night and early morning hours were the peak time for criminal activity; 93 percent of the criminal sexual assaults, 77 percent of the aggravated assaults and batteries and 57 percent of the robberies happened between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

U. of I. students accounted for 87 percent of the victims of criminal sexual assaults, 54 percent of the robbery victims and 45 percent of the victims of aggravated assaults and batteries.

More than 90 percent of the victims and suspects involved in aggravated assaults and batteries, and all the persons involved in criminal sexual assaults had been using alcohol and/or drugs at the time the crimes occurred.

Krystal Fitzpatrick, assistant chief of the U. of I. Police Department, said that ensuring a safe environment requires the involvement of the community as well as the police. Prevention and education go hand in hand in combating many types of criminal activity, she said.

“It is important for members of the campus community to develop good safety habits, such as using the bus system, not walking alone at night and learning what to do if they feel threatened,” Fitzpatrick said. “The officers at the University of Illinois Police Department are available to give presentations on personal safety and can be reached at 333-1216.” The Safety and Presentations page on the department’s Web site, lists the different programs available.

The university crime report includes incidents that occurred in the area extending from University Avenue on the north to Windsor Road on the south, Race Street on the east and the railroad tracks just east of Neil Street on the west.
Statistics about crime on the Urbana campus have been kept and publicly reported since 1995. The crime statistics are reported three times annually and in new student orientations and campus crime prevention programs.