During the first full month of school, students were able to focus a little more on classes and worry a little less about safety.
Crime decreased by 12 percent this September, with the number of general incidents dropping from 102 in September 2011 to 90 in 2012.
There was a 16-percent decrease in crime against property, while crime against person increased from 16 incidents in 2011 to 18 in 2012 — a 13-percent increase.
As for thefts from buildings, there has been no change from last year to this year, with 29 incidents each year.
According to Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush, the rise of crimes against person was largely due to the number of simple assaults increasing from three incidents in 2011 to seven in 2012, resulting in a 133-percent increase.
Most of the incidents were against health care workers and police officers, not students, she added.
Contributing to the decline in crime against property was the 47-percent decrease in bike theft that occurred this September. According to Rush, bike theft this year is a “positive story.”
There were 32 thefts in September of 2011 and only 17 in 2012.
As trends of previous years have shown, Rush said September is a “pivotal month” for theft because the freshman class is getting used to securing their property.
After this first month of school, theft generally decreases and then usually spikes up in April when students are preoccupied with exams. Due to these patterns, the Division of Public Safety intensifies their security education efforts during the months of September and April.
Rush pointed out that improved security in Van Pelt Library has paid off. After DPS’s Security Services evaluated Van Pelt crime in the summer of 2011, several changes were made to security procedures. Now, visitors without PennCards can only enter the building from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday instead of from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
These modified procedures contributed to a 74-percent decrease in thefts from Van Pelt from 2011 to 2012 in the period between Jan. 1 and Sept. 16.
From January to Sept. 30, 2012, there has been a 12-percent decrease in crime in the Penn Patrol Zone.
For the first few months of the fiscal year, which began July 1, crime has decreased by 8 percent, as of Sept. 30.
Rush concluded from these improvements, “we are trending well.”