Campus summer crime less frequent

Crime in the University area has dropped compared to reported numbers last summer, despite the well-documented phenomena of significant increases in crime during the summer months by police departments all over the country.

Cities such as New York and Los Angeles experience substantial spikes in criminal activity, especially of violent nature, during the warm weather seasons when more citizens are outdoors and high temperatures shorten peoples’ patience. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, general crime rates rise approximately 10 percent from June to August nationally.

However, according to the University’s Department of Public Safety, crime in the University area has actually decreased since last summer. In a comparison of the police reports filed between June 14 and July 14, property crimes are down from 42 in 2009 to just 10 this year. Although the increase in person crimes has risen this year from one to five because of a series of domestic violence cases, the general consensus from law enforcement is that the crime rates during the summer in Eugene do not follow the national pattern.

“There isn’t really a noticeable increase in crime during the summer,” DPS Captain Ed Rinne said. “Overall, we feel that campus is a safe place and people just have to watch out for themselves to avoid the bad situations.”

However, that is not to say that violent crime does not happen in the campus area. On July 11, a student was assaulted and robbed by two men while riding his bike near Gerlinger Hall. Incidents like this are reminders that, despite the relative security of campus, danger still exists.

“I’ve heard about crime on campus, like the student who was mugged last week, but personally, I feel pretty safe,” University junior Kelsey McFarlane said. “I have had situations where I have felt unsafe when walking alone at night, but fortunately, nothing resulted from them. From the start of my freshman year, I thought the school and the community overall have really stressed being safe.”

A list compiled by the DPS Safe Campus Team highlights some key precautions for students to take to avoid becoming a victim of crime. The most emphasized suggestion for avoiding danger is to maintain contact with other people. Whenever possible, people should walk in groups or at least in areas where more people tend to be. The Safe Campus Team also recommends traveling in well-lit areas far from bushes or shrubbery where someone could hide.

“There is absolutely strength in numbers,” Rinne said. “It’s much harder for criminals or whoever to take advantage of people who are not insolated. Walking with a group, or even just one other person, definitely reduces the threat of crime.”

Other tips include using a U-lock for bike locks and never leaving valuables in plain sight in a vehicle. According to the Safe Campus Team, it only takes about 10 seconds for a criminal to break into a car and take belongings. If students follow these simple procedures, they will be much more likely to continue to enjoy a safe tenure at the University.

“I don’t feel like there is a persistent threat of trouble,” University junior Kevin McDonald said. “But you do have to be aware of your surroundings. I live in the south campus area, and even though my neighborhood is full of families and other students, I still try not to walk around alone. I still lock all the doors in my house at night. The chances of anything happening are slim, but why take them?”

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