Students were hit particularly hard by crime in Ann Arbor last year, according to statistics released by the Ann Arbor Police Department earlier this month.

Last year, serious crime in the city increased by 8 percent. But the increase in serious crime in student areas was much higher: 23 percent increase.

In Ann Arbor overall, every serious crime except arson and murder has increased since 2004. Police reported three more rapes this year, 47 more assaults, 23 more robberies and 50 more stolen cars.

Additionally, there was a 12-percent increase in burglaries, jumping from 749 in 2004 to 840 in 2005.

No murders were reported last year, compared with two that were reported in 2004.

While burglaries increased by only 12 percent, the number of robberies – which involve violence or intimidation – increased by 28 percent, mostly because of a string of more than 30 robberies committed in the summer months by a small group of individuals, police said.

“We made several key arrests and the robberies dropped off,” said Charlotte DeMatteo, a crime analyst for the AAPD.

Chief Greg O’Dell, interim police chief, said that although the force was not thrilled with the data, the numbers do not necessarily indicate the beginning of a serious crime wave.

He noted that despite last year’s increase, numbers are significantly lower than they were in 2001, 2002 and 2003. He said crime in 2004 had been unusually low. The AAPD recorded 10 percent less serious crime in 2004 than in 2003.

The total number of serious crimes reported in areas densely populated by students increased more dramatically than in the city as a whole, with serious crimes leaping from 708 to 868 – a 23 percent increase.

The proportion of crimes committed in student areas also increased this year. Of all crimes, 24 percent were committed in student neighborhoods in 2005 compared with 21 percent in 2004. Because police do not keep track of whether crime victims are students, the figures include all crimes committed in predominantly student areas, including those in which students were not victims.

Robbery, arson and forcible rape all increased in student areas, while aggravated assault, larceny and motor vehicle theft decreased. The number of home invasions rose by 38 percent in the last year.

Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Diane Brown said the increase in burglaries affecting off-campus student areas may be linked to a decrease of burglaries in residence halls. Brown said because of increased security measures in dormitories, such as a 24-hour controlled access program and self-locking doors, burglaries have been drastically reduced over the past few years.

The numbers of crimes committed on campus, which is under the jurisdiction of DPS, are not yet available for 2005, but the number of burglaries in residence halls has fallen consistently – from 150 in 2002 to 67 in 2003 to 25 in 2004.

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