CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Aggravated assaults and batteries increased by more than 34 percent in the University of Illinois reporting district during the Sept. 1, 2004 - May 15, 2005, reporting period, according to statistics released this week by the U. of I. Division of Public Safety.
One hundred thirteen aggravated assaults and batteries were reported during the period, up from 84 during 2003-2004 and 99 during the same period two years ago.
Of the 149 victims, 137 were men age 29 and younger, the majority of whom were attacked by strangers.
Late-night and early morning hours on weekends tended to be the peak periods for crime, as the majority of aggravated assaults and batteries occurred on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
As was the case in previous reporting periods, most of the crimes occurred 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, and Wright Street on the east and the railroad tracks just east of Neil Street on the west.
Robberies were up as well, increasing to 38 from 34 during the same period in 2003-2004. During same period two years ago, 24 robberies occurred.
The number of criminal sexual assaults decreased by one, from 22 to 21, but that was still slightly higher than the 2002-2003 period, when 18 criminal sexual assaults were reported.
Incidents of peeping toms and public indecency were down as well, from 16 to 11.
The increase in robberies and aggravated assaults and batteries is a concern for local law enforcement, but personal safety is a team effort that requires that people adhere to good safety practices in addition to proactive work by the police, said Krystal Fitzpatrick, assistant U. of I. police chief.
"The statistics show that one of the biggest factors in becoming a victim or a suspect is alcohol consumption, and we want to remind people to pay attention to their surroundings, to drink responsibly and walk with others when out at night," Fitzpatrick said.
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 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.