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Crime down in U. of I. reporting district in most recent reporting period

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

Released 6/13/2007

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Crime in the University of Illinois campus reporting district declined from Sep. 1, 2006, to May 13, 2007, according to statistics released by the U. of I. Division of Public Safety.

Robberies decreased to 39 from 43 during the same period in the prior year, but were up one from the same period two years ago.

Peeping Tom and public indecency reports declined 57 percent, from 14 during the same period last year to six, which was also a decrease from two years ago, when 11 such incidents were reported. Accordingly, the number of criminal sexual assaults reported to police declined as well, to 16, from 17 the prior year and 21 two years ago.

Thirty aggravated assaults and batteries were reported during the Sept. 1, 2006, to May 13, 2007, reporting period. However, the data reflect a change in methodology: Only those crimes involving substantial bodily injury, a weapon, or both were counted as aggravated assaults.

Previously, the U. of I. included in its aggravated assault statistics incidents that involved minor injuries to victims, police or both. Effective with its Clery Act reports for 2005 and the fall semester 2006 crime map and data comparison, the U. of I. revised its criteria and excluded minor incidents to ensure consistency with the methodology used by peer institutions and to more accurately reflect the level of crime on campus.

No homicides were reported during the most recent reporting period. One attempted homicide occurred the prior year, on Jan. 22, 2006, when a man was stabbed outside the La Bamba restaurant on Sixth Street in Champaign following an argument.

Consistent with prior reports, crimes were concentrated in areas adjacent to the university campus, rather than on U. of I. grounds, particularly 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.

In accordance with prior reports, the majority of aggravated assaults (25), criminal sexual assaults (14), and robberies (35) occurred between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Alcohol use by victims, suspects or both also was a factor in the majority of the aggravated assaults and batteries and the criminal sexual assaults.

“Even though the number of reported crimes declined within the campus reporting district, we shouldn’t have a false sense of security,” said Jeff Christensen, assistant chief of police. “It is imperative that members of our campus community continue to adhere to good safety practices to help reduce crime.

“Taking away the opportunity for crimes to be committed, such as walking with others in well-lit and highly traveled areas, is key to not becoming a victim. Everyone is part of our community policing efforts, and we encourage people to report suspicious behavior and to contact us with any concerns to assist in our joint problem-solving efforts.”

“Practicing good personal and office safety diminishes the opportunities for criminals to prey upon victims,” said Krystal Fitzpatrick, interim chief of police.

The U. of I. police offer various programs – covering topics such as office security and bicycle and pedestrian safety – to educate members of the campus community about good safety practices and help deter crime. To schedule a program, contact Officer Tony Ortiz, crime prevention coordinator, at 333-1835 or by e-mail at jaortiz@illinois.edu.

The U. of I. 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. The U. of I. reports crimes statistics three times annually and during new-student orientations and campus crime prevention programs.