New crime data show rape reports declined on U-M campus, and burglaries decreased on EMU campus
Newly released campus crime data for 2009 shows reports of most types of crimes on the University of Michigan campus remained flat or decreased from 2008. And a continued decline occurred in the number of burglaries on Eastern Michigan University's campus.
Some more notable changes, according to the new U-M data, were decreases in reported liquor law arrests or citations — 324 on campus in 2009, down from 508 on campus in 2008 — and burglary — 15 reported on campus in 2009, down from 41 reported on campus in 2008.
Reports of aggravated assaults on campus also decreased from 19 in 2008 to 10 in 2009. These include incidents reported to the U-M Police Department, other police agencies, and reports made to someone other than police.
Reports of weapon-related incidents on campus also decreased from 2008 to 2009. In 2008, seven weapon law arrests were reported on U-M's campus, and there were 57 weapon law violations referred for disciplinary action, compared to one weapon law arrest in 2009 and no weapon law violations referred for disciplinary action.
Also, according to the statistics, the number of forcible rapes reported on U-M campus property, which includes on-campus residence halls, decreased from 36 in 2008 to five in 2009.
U-M police spokeswoman Diane Brown said all 36 forcible rapes reported in 2008 and four of the five reported in 2009 were referred to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, which has recently "increased their documentation" of reports to provide police with more detail while maintaining anonymity for victims.
Brown said those changes could explain why the number of reports decreased so dramatically from 2008 to 2009. For instance, she said, it is unclear whether all 36 incidents reported in 2008 actually occurred on campus, while the four reported to the center in 2009 definitely did.
Reports of arson on campus increased from three in 2008 to 10 in 2009. Brown noted most of the arson reports U-M police investigate are "not incidents that have done significant damage or (that) have been a significant threat."
EMU Police Chief Greg O'Dell said most changes in EMU's crime statistics were too small to have much statistical significance, but one thing jumped out at him — the reduction in burglary reports.
"Really the numbers are so small in most areas, it's not significant ... The only thing we've really been working on is the burglary (reports), which is just a huge decrease," O'Dell said. "It's been our biggest push."
O'Dell said the department has emphasized the importance of locking doors to students at orientation sessions and throughout the school year — and the extra efforts are apparently paying off.
In 2007, there were 123 burglaries reported on campus. That number dropped to 47 in 2008, and to 42 in 2009.
O'Dell said often a burglary results from "a situation where people just leave their doors unlocked, and it's a crime of opportunity."
O'Dell added, "We're pleased with the (2009) numbers."
Brown said "so much of campus safety still comes down to some very basic, yet very important crime prevention strategies."
She offered the following tips for staying safe:
- Report suspicious behavior immediately to police.
- Keep personal belongings secure, never leave them unattended.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.