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Property crimes among increases in university crime report

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

11/13/2002

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Property crimes, robberies and criminal sexual assaults all increased in the University of Illinois reporting district during the reporting period from Sept. 1, 2001, to Aug. 31, 2002, according to statistics released this week by the University of Illinois Division of Public Safety.

Residential burglaries were up 52 percent, to 260 from 171 such incidents during the Sept. 1, 2000 - Aug. 31, 2001, reporting period. Burglaries from motor vehicles also were up 18 percent over the prior year, to 248 from 210 incidents. Burglaries of motor vehicle parts increased from one incident the previous academic year to seven incidents during the 2001-2002 reporting period. Likewise, burglaries increased 6 percent, from 131 incidents the previous year to 139.

The majority of residential burglaries, burglaries and motor vehicle burglaries occurred not on university property but in the northwest quadrant of the university reporting district, 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.

Home invasions, though, continued to show a downward trend, declining to three incidents from six incidents the prior year.

Crimes against persons increased in two out of four reporting categories during the Sept. 2001 - Aug. 31, 2002, reporting period.

Robberies increased 21 percent, to 41 robberies from 34 incidents the prior year. During the same period of the 1999-2000 academic year, 41 robberies were reported.

The number of criminal sexual assaults also increased, to 22 incidents from 18 cases the prior year. During the same period of the 1999-2000 academic year, 20 criminal sexual assaults were reported.

Aggravated assaults and batteries declined to 112 incidents from 113 the previous year. Likewise, public indecency and peeping tom cases decreased to 11 incidents from 13 the previous year.

The increased rates of certain crimes on and around campus are consistent with national statistics, and police are taking measures to combat these crimes, said Police Chief Oliver J. Clark.

However, Clark emphasized the importance of the public and the police working together to prevent crime.

The best defense is for men and women to be alert to their surroundings and take precautions, such as always trying to walk in groups, especially after dark, and using Safe Rides or escorts or taking the MTD to avoid walking alone, Clark said.

"It is also important that students take the time to check their residences and ensure their windows and doors have good locking devices," said Police Capt. Krystal Fitzpatrick. "Knowing your neighbors and developing a 'neighborhood crime watch' are also helpful."

People should call 911 or use the blue emergency phones on campus to report any suspicious activity or individuals they may see, police said.

"If you are in doubt, make the call," Clark said. "We would much rather answer a call about harmless activity than not be called about a crime in progress."

The university crime report includes incidents that occurred in an 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 on crime on the University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign 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.