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Number of reported crimes on U. of I. campus dropped in fall semester

2/24/2009 | Phil Ciciora, News Editor | 217-333-2177; pciciora@illinois.edu

[ Email | Share ] CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The incidence of robberies and aggravated assaults and batteries declined from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2008, in the University of Illinois district, according to the latest crime statistics released by the Division of Public Safety.

Robberies were down 52.6 percent during the period, with nine robberies reported compared with 19 during the same period the previous year. Seventeen robberies were reported for the same period in 2006.

The number of aggravated assaults and batteries remained unchanged for the second year in a row, with nine reported during the September through December period in 2007 and in 2008. Fourteen aggravated assaults and batteries were reported in the same period in 2006.

Criminal sexual assaults during the period decreased 15.4 percent from 13 to 11 incidents. The number of public indecency and Peeping Tom cases decreased from three to two in 2008.

As with the previous two years, no homicides were reported during the reporting period for 2008.

“The reduction in crime can be attributed in part to the diligent work and cooperation between police agencies,” said Barbara R. O’Connor, the executive director of public safety and U. of I. police chief.

“The U. of I. police, along with our colleagues in the Champaign and Urbana police departments, have developed a cooperative approach in addressing crime, and we thank those police agencies for their efforts. Over the next year we will continue to enhance our partnership.”

The majority of the criminal sexual assaults as well as the majority of the aggravated assaults and batteries and robberies occurred in the district’s northwest quadrant and not on university property. The northwest quadrant of the university reporting district is an area roughly bounded by University Avenue on the north, Chalmers Street and Gregory Drive on the south, Wright Street on the east and the railroad tracks east of Neil Street on the west.

Consistent with data from the previous two years’ September to December reporting periods, the majority of the aggravated assaults and batteries occurred on Saturday nights and early Sunday mornings between midnight and 3 a.m. However, slightly fewer victims had been consuming alcohol than during the prior two years. Most of the crimes perpetrated on U. of I. students were by strangers.

As always, police urge people to exercise good safety practices, particularly drinking responsibly, as drinking too much increases the likelihood of becoming involved in a crime.

Pedestrians are encouraged to walk with other people, to be alert to their surroundings and, if they have cell phones, to keep them out and call 911 if they notice a suspicious person or suspicious activity.

“Awareness is essential,” O’Connor said. “Please don’t hesitate to contact the police if something seems unusual.”

Students also are encouraged to take buses or call SafeRides (265-7433) between 5 p.m. and 6:15 a.m.

The U. of I. crime report includes incidents that occurred in an area extending from University Avenue on the north to St. Mary’s Road on the south, Race Street on the east and the railroad tracks just east of Neil Street on the west.

The crime statistics for the U. of I. district are reported three times annually and in new-student orientations and campus crime-prevention programs.

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