CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Reported crime declined in most categories on the University of Illinois campus during 2000, statistics released this week indicate.
During the last four months of the year, the number of burglaries from vehicles and from residences declined, as did the number of robberies. The number of criminal sexual assaults -- seven -- was the same as in the same period a year earlier, while the number of aggravated assaults increased, from 28 to 44.
"It is not unusual to see this type of fluctuation in the number of reported assaults and batteries," said UI police Capt. Kris Fitzpatrick. "We continue to try to educate the community on how to avoid being a victim, but many of the crimes involve alcohol use by both victim and offender. It is difficult for someone to identify threatening situations and react appropriately when they are under the influence."
Statistics from the fall semesters of the previous four years show that the number of aggravated assaults and batteries has fluctuated each year, with 53 occurring from September through December 1995, 39 during the same period in 1996, and 45 and 37 for the fall semesters of 1997 and 1998, respectively.
UI students were the most frequent victims of aggravated assaults and batteries in the campus area, particularly men between the ages of 18 and 29 who were out between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. on weekends.
"I think women tend to be more concerned about their vulnerability and often take safety precautions such as avoiding certain areas and walking in groups," Fitzpatrick said. "On the other hand, men don't, and as a result, find themselves being victimized."
Likewise, alcohol consumption by both victims and suspects was a factor in many of the incidents, Fitzpatrick said.
The number of reported burglaries (other than from residences or motor vehicles) increased slightly on the UI campus from September through December 2000. Forty-nine burglaries were reported as compared with 43 for the same period a year earlier.
The number of reported burglaries from motor vehicles from September through December 2000 dropped 50 percent -- from 157 incidents to 80 -- when compared with the same period a year earlier. The decrease was likely attributable to a combination of factors, according to Gary Spear, crime analyst with the Champaign Police Department.
Extra police patrols, the arrests of several individuals on drug or burglary charges and the relocation of the TIMES men's shelter probably all contributed to the drop in motor vehicle burglaries in the Campustown area, Spears said.
Likewise, the number of residential burglaries reported declined slightly during the same period, to 69 from 73 last year. Robberies, too, were down slightly, to 15 from 17 during the fall semester last year.
Reports of public indecency and Peeping Toms also declined, from 10 to seven.
The UI crime report includes incidents that occurred in an area that extends from University Avenue to Windsor Road, and from Neil Street to Lincoln Avenue. This area includes both university and non-university property.