Despite the recent rise in reported assaults near campus, crime data released last week indicates no large change in criminal activity on campus last year.
The University’s Department of Public Safety released the University of Michigan Annual Security Report and Annual Fire Safety Report on Friday. Previously referred to as the Campus Safety Handbook, the report contains crime statistics in DPS’s jurisdiction — all University property — for 2010. The information is required by law to be publicly released, as outlined in the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.
DPS Chief Greg O’Dell said the crime data shows nothing particularly different from previous years. The most reported crime during 2010 was larceny with 840 reports — an increase from 786 larcenies in 2009. In 2008, there were 861 larcenies.
In addition to the larcenies, there were 50 sexual assaults reported to the University’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center as well as 10 aggravated assaults, 27 burglaries, 391 liquor law arrest/citations and 116 drug law arrests, which occurred on campus and were reported to DPS in 2010. The numbers do not deviate significantly from the 2009 numbers. However, there were 62 fewer drug law arrests in 2009 and 60 fewer in 2008.
O’Dell, who joined DPS at the end of August, said he supports camaraderie among members of the campus community in an effort to decrease crime rates.
“My goal is to engage everyone … students, staff, faculty and any other members of the campus community as well as other police agencies,” O’Dell said. “No police agency can do it all alone, so engaging with others as well as the whole community is vital to the success of a successful police agency, and that is what I strive for.”
In a letter accompanying the security report, O’Dell outlined his goals and strategic vision for DPS.
“We must ensure that our persons and property are secure and protected by a responsible, vigilant and caring population of involved people who report suspicious and unlawful behavior immediately to the Department of Public Safety,” O’Dell wrote.
DPS spokeswoman Diane Brown said the report is not particularly surprising, citing the prevalence of larcenies on campus — specifically larcenies involving automotive parts. Brown added there was a larger trend across Washtenaw County of stealing items left in cars such as GPS devices and other valuables.
Certain aspects of the report are mandated to be published by law, but DPS includes information such as critical safety precautions for emergency situations and campus phone numbers in hopes of educating the community, Brown said. DPS printed 20,000 copies of the report for the campus community and published it electronically to allow students to easily access the information, Brown said.
Brown also pointed to presentations and meetings DPS hosts throughout the year regarding a variety of topics including personal safety and how to deal with an active shooter. Brown lauded O’Dell for continuing to enforce University standards, protocol and policies.
“Our emphasis continues to be what it was prior to his arrival, that being that the highest priority being crimes against persons, and also trying to provide safety and security services to all of our campus community, and continuing to educate our campus community about ways to reduce risk, and also being a very visible and involved department within our campus community,” Brown said.