Crime at the U varies

The University leads all Big Ten schools in robberies, but arrests were down in 2006.

The number of alcohol-related arrests at the University went down in 2006 but went up for burglaries, according to crime statistics released by the University police department last week.

There were 74 burglaries reported on and around campus in 2005, but 296 last year, according to the statistics, which universities are required to release in accordance with the Clery Act.

However, University Deputy Police Chief Steve Johnson said those numbers are deceiving.

“There was a difference in the way we identified theft in the residence halls last year,” he said.

When an item was stolen from residence halls in the past, those crimes were categorized as thefts. Starting last year, those crimes were deemed burglaries instead of thefts, resulting in the dramatic increase in burglaries, Johnson said.

While a theft indicates an item being stolen, a burglary also includes breaking into the residence.

The University had the second most burglaries among the Big Ten last year, topped only by Ohio State University’s 341 burglaries, according to statistics collected from all Big Ten schools.

Minnesota topped the Big Ten in robberies reported, with 24.

Despite the crime, University graduate student Kirsten Letofsky said he feels safe on campus.

“I probably feel safe because I’ve finished multiple degrees here and I’ve never witnessed or been a part of a crime here,” he said.

While the number of burglaries and robberies were up, arrests were down last year.

There were 394 alcohol-related arrests during 2006, the eighth most among Big Ten schools.

Johnson credited the decline in alcohol-related arrests to two things: Minneapolis police, rather than University police, making most of the party patrol arrests last year and more arrests being made off campus.

The Clery Act, which is enforced by the Department of Education, only accounts for crimes that occur on campus and the streets and sidewalks surrounding it. When arrests are made off campus, they aren’t included in the report.

Letofsky said he was intrigued by the decline in the number of alcohol-related arrests last year.

“I don’t think the amount of drinking has changed,” he said, “but behaviors probably have.”

For the third year in a row there were also no murders or manslaughters on the University campus. There have been no homicides in the Big Ten during the past three years.

That will change, however, when the 2007 report comes out next fall because of the Aug. 6 murder of a woman at the Radisson University Hotel on Washington Avenue.

It was the first murder ever on campus, and therefore the first under University police jurisdiction, Johnson said.

“We are very fortunate that for years our community has not had the misfortune of having a homicide on campus,” he said. “We are constantly working to improve and maintain a safe, quality environment for people to study and learn.”