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Aggravated assaults, batteries up sharply at end of 2004 in U. of I. district

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

2/8/2005

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Aggravated assaults and batteries were up significantly in the University of Illinois reporting district during the Sept. 1, 2004 – Dec. 31, 2004, reporting period, according to statistics released this week by the University of Illinois Division of Public Safety.

Sixty aggravated assaults and batteries were reported during the period, up from 36 incidents in the comparable period the prior year, but less than the 68 aggravated assaults and batteries that occurred during the final four months of 2001-2002.

Twenty-two robberies were reported, one more than during the fall 2003 reporting period and five more than the number of robberies reported in the same period during the prior year.

However, criminal sexual assaults decreased, to seven crimes from the 11 reported during the last four months of each of the two preceding years.

There were eight incidents of peeping toms and public indecency during the fall 2004 reporting period, down one from nine the prior year, but consistent with eight incidents that were reported during the 2001-2002 fall reporting period.

As during prior years, many of the crimes during the Sept. 1 – Dec. 31, 2004, reporting period occurred in areas adjacent to the campus, not on university grounds. Eighty-eight percent (53) of the 60 aggravated assaults and batteries, six of the seven criminal sexual assaults, and 21 of the 22 robberies occurred within the fringe areas bordering campus and not on the campus itself.

U. of I. students and staff accounted for 87 percent of the robbery victims but fewer than half (43 percent) of the victims of aggravated assaults and batteries, and 37 percent of the victims of criminal sexual assaults.

More than 73 percent of the victims and suspects involved in aggravated assaults and batteries had been using alcohol, drugs or both at the time the crimes occurred. The late evening and early morning hours tended to be the most dangerous time; 80 percent of the aggravated assaults and batteries happened between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., and 60 percent of them occurred on weekends.

“The increased number of aggravated assaults and batteries continues to be a concern, and the connection to alcohol use is obvious,” said Kris Fitzpatrick, the assistant chief of the campus police department. “This is not a crime trend that the police can resolve alone. It’s important that members of the campus community be aware that over-consumption of alcohol will increase the likelihood of one becoming a victim and/or an assailant.”

Of those crimes that occurred on university grounds, the majority occurred in the northwest quadrant, an area 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.

“We encourage those who live in this area to report all suspicious activity and practice good personal safety habits,” said Police Chief Oliver J. Clark. “Decreasing the number of crimes in the campus area requires a partnership with the local police departments and the community.”

The officers at the U. of I. Police Department are available to give presentations on personal safety to students, faculty and staff. The Safety and Presentations page on the UIPD Web site, lists the different programs available. To request a presentation or for other information, contact the department at 333-1216

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 on crime on the U. of I. 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.