Department of Public Safety finds University of Oregon’s campus crime on the rise

From sexual assaults to potential gang violence to thefts, crime is on the rise on the University campus, according to statistics released by the Department of Public Safety.

From January through April of this year, DPS reported four forcible sexual assaults, an increase from zero during the same time period last year. This corresponds with a single reported nonforcible sex crime, also an increase over zero reported during the same time period last year and an overall 53 percent increase in crimes reported on campus during the first three months of 2011.

Additionally, there have been 15 burglaries during the first four months of this year, compared to six during that time last year. DPS has processed 35 arrests for criminal trespassing and issued 108 drug violations.

On the positive side, DPS reported only one aggravated assault and one instance of phone harassment during the first four months of this year. During the same period in 2010 there were three aggravated assaults and four reports of phone harassment.

Capt. Ed Rinne, head of the Safe Campus Team, explained that, though the statistics released suggest an increase in sexual assaults, the full data from last year does not show an increase. Rinne was not able to comment in depth on this information, as it has not yet been released to the [email protected]@

“If you look at the percentage-wise of all of 2010 to where we’re at in 2011, we’re not on an increase; we’re about equal right now,” Rinne said of the as-of-yet-unpublished statistics on sexual assaults.

Rinne discussed a significant increase in property crime in the West University neighborhood, as well as possible sexual assaults mentioned in an alert sent to students on May 6. In those instances, according to Rinne, students woke up after drinking without memory of the hours beforehand, which potentially indicated that they were drugged and might have been assaulted. Rinne stressed the importance of preventative measures to avoid becoming a victim.

“It’s sort of like going to the dentist and finding out you have a cavity. They can fill the cavity and try to repair it, but the best advice to give someone is to prevent yourself from ever actually getting that cavity,” Rinne said. “It’s the same with crime prevention.”

Rinne also mentioned increased patrols on campus during peak hours, when the department receives the most calls for service. In the first three months of this year, DPS received 2,277 calls for service. Rinne said Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights are the most frequent times that calls are made.

Rinne noted that DPS has been using plainclothes patrols during the year to increase campus safety, a practice used during football season to keep alcohol from being brought into Autzen Stadium, though he didn’t want to go into depth on those patrols.

“I’d hate to get into too many details,” Rinne said.

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