Summer crime decreases, especially theft

Summer crime between 2005 and 2009 has decreased by roughly 20 percent, according to University of Minnesota police data.

Summer crime between 2005 and 2009 has decreased by roughly 20 percent, according to University of Minnesota police data. Crime in May 2010 was also down about 9 percent from 2005. Police attribute the drops to technology and a nationwide reduction in crime. âÄúItâÄôs kind of a national trend too,âÄù Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said. âÄúWe canâÄôt take all the credit.âÄù GPS mapping and analysis help police follow trends, such as a string of burglaries, more easily, Miner said. On top of sharper analysis and location-based mapping, Minnesota has put more criminals in jail recently, which has helped initiate a statewide decrease in crime. An additional five University police officers took their oaths in December, but it is too early to determine if they have had any effect on crime rates, Miner said. Although there is always fluctuation in crime trends year-to-year (for example, crime climbed slightly in summer 2006), the overall trend is downward, Miner said. University police break specific crimes into two categories. Part one crimes are more severe and include homicide, rape, robbery, assault and theft. Less severe part two crimes include damage to property, less severe assaults and drug and drinking offenses. Part one crimes have remained relatively constant since 2005, peaking in 2006 and 2007 and dropping back in 2008 and 2009. From May 2005 to May 2010, both part one and part two crimes decreased slightly, although the drop was not consistent year over year. The number of violent crimes on campus in the summer has remained low, with no homicides and three rapes since 2005. Theft, the most common crime on campus, has occurred at an exponentially higher rate than other crimes on campus. University police recorded an average of 192 thefts per summer from 2005 to 2009. The average for each May was 52 cases. This year, however, Miner said he was surprised to see that bicycle theft has decreased significantly, especially in the past two months. âÄúKnock on wood, our bike thefts have been nonexistent this year,âÄù Miner said. Summer crime is usually minor on campus, which is atypical for most jurisdictions, Miner said. âÄúWeâÄôre unique in that obviously the big portion of our population leaves the area,âÄù he said. âÄúWhen there are fewer students around, there are fewer victims around.âÄù University student steals residence hall television Two males, one of them a University student, pushed a 56-inch television stolen from a common area in Centennial Hall about a half mile before they were stopped by police, according to a preliminary report. A University police sergeant stopped the two men near the East River Road garage at about 1 a.m. Tuesday and âÄúinquired as to why they were pushing a television down the sidewalk at 1 oâÄôclock in the morning,âÄù according to the report. Both men confessed to stealing the television after initially offering conflicting stories to University police. They were booked in jail for theft and the television was returned to the residence hall. Police rescue elderly woman, young children from river bluffs University police Saturday assisted in rescuing a 68-year-old woman and three children stranded in the Mississippi river bluffs, according to a police report. The group, hiking in the bluffs, got stranded by the âÄúnarrow and at times perilous foot paths,âÄù near Elliott Hall on the UniversityâÄôs East Bank campus before being found by police, according to the report. Officers at the scene helped members of the Minneapolis Fire Department retrieve one of the children first before the firemen rescued the rest. âÄúWe donâÄôt have equipment to âĦ rappel down a hill or anything, but Minneapolis Fire [Department] is very well trained,âÄù he said. Police usually assist by forming a perimeter and ensuring the fire department is able to work unhindered. Cases such as this occur two or three times per year, typically at night, Miner said.