Campus crime down 14 percent

In some cases, a downward spiral can be a good thing. Though the University has less than one police officer per 1000 students âÄî the smallest ratio in the Big Ten âÄî crime has still been dropping. Campus crime went from 2,167 cases in 2003 to 1,615 cases in 2007 âÄî a 25 percent decrease. From 2006 to 2007 alone, the University saw a 14 percent decrease in crime, but this isnâÄôt stopping the University Police Department from expanding. The department, now with 46 officers, will hire seven new officers to complete its University-approved expansion. University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said the number of officers directly affects the amount of crime. In the past, he said, a decrease in numbers of Minneapolis police led to a rise in crime. âÄúObviously, the more people we can have on the streets investigating calls, the better,âÄù he said. However, Kristoffer Tigue, a recently graduated English major, said the expansion seems like a misappropriation of University funds in light of last yearâÄôs decrease in crime. Other students said they thought the future hires are justified. Margaret Habib, a microbiology sophomore, said she will welcome the officer additions because campus safety should be a constant initiative. âÄúI donâÄôt think thereâÄôs such a thing as too safe,âÄù she said. Overall crime down, robberies not Miner said the crime decrease is part of a trend in the Twin Cities over the past few years. Several kinds of crime, including thefts, burglaries and assaults, have all decreased. But while overall crime has gone down, some crimes, like robbery, have gone up since 2003, he said. Miner credits the overall decrease to the University police Community Investigator Division. The program, started in 2002, assigned the five University detectives to separate campus crime zones, forcing them to specialize in crime prevention pertaining to that certain area. Growing, but still small Though UMPD will be increasing its numbers to 53 officers, its command staff of five is still the smallest command staff in the Big Ten. Reasons for adding the officers include increased security needs for TCF Bank Stadium and a larger patrol area. The University has more acreage now than it did 10 years ago, Miner said. âÄúIf a crime happened on the same block 10 years ago, it was off campus, but now itâÄôs considered on campus,âÄù he said. According to a 2006 report, the University had the second-largest student population in the Big Ten, but the sixth-smallest police force. In comparison, Ohio State University , with only 102 more students than the University in 2006, had 52 officers âÄî five more than the University did at the time.