Violent crime down around campus

Though students may think of the aggravated assault of a first-year student going by Sam and the bullet that caught first-year student Kenya Ollie in the stomach as recent and notable events near campus, violent crimes around campus have decreased. Type-1, or violent, crime âÄîhomicide, aggravated assault, rape and robbery âÄî dropped 14.7 percent this year through October, as compared to last year during the same timeframe in and around the University of Minnesota. This contributes to a three-year trend. University police Chief Greg Hestness said crime has been steadily dropping in the area, but some crimes still stand out. âÄúThe numbers tell that tale,âÄù he said. âÄúBut there have still been some very high-profile, concerning crime.âÄù Hestness referred to two murders, one in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood involving an Augsburg student and the other at a Somali mall , both of which are in the Minneapolis Police Department 1st Precinct and close to campus. Hestness said because of the proximity of these crimes to campus, students want to increase University police presence in this area. âÄúThere has been a push for me to do more off-campus crimes where thereâÄôs a substantial presence of students,âÄù he said. Not only has violent crime on campus dropped, but all of the surrounding areas have had fewer incidents reported this year. Violent crime in the 2nd Precinct, which includes the Marcy-Holmes, Southeast Como, Prospect Park , and University District (Stadium Village) neighborhoods, is down 22 percent from last year at this time, Carol Oosterhuis, Minneapolis crime prevention specialist , said. âÄúI think that a lot of the students have increased awareness as far as taking precautions,âÄù she said, âÄúbecause we did have an increase a while back.âÄù The western border of campus, the 1st Precinct area, has seen violent crime drop 11 percent, with a 19 percent drop in Cedar-Riverside alone, according to police statistics. But because crime is down, that doesnâÄôt mean authorities are celebrating. Homicides close to campus are something âÄúyou canâÄôt disregard,âÄù Hestness said. One kind of violent crime, rape, may also be underreported, Jill Lipski Cain , Aurora Center violence prevention education coordinator, said. âÄú[A police report] provides a narrower focus; it doesnâÄôt necessarily capture the presence of crime,âÄù she said. âÄúItâÄôs hard to see if crimes like [rape] are going down because of police reports.âÄù Cain cited a study done in 2001 that argues less than 5 percent of rape victims report their sexual assault to the police. But the numbers of clients at the campus Aurora Center have decreased. In fiscal year 2007, which ended in June 2007, the center saw 336 clients, Cain said. In their last fiscal year, ending in June 2008, the number of center clientele dropped to 299.