Crime near campus down 7 percent in 2012
Retail and bike theft among the crimes that decreased from 2011 numbers
January 16, 2013, 9:21 pm·
Last year saw a decrease of 7 percent in the total number of crimes committed on and around Penn’s campus.
“We’re trending on the negative with crime, which is where we want to trend,” Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said. “We’re still working to do more.”
Overall crimes decreased 5 percent in 2011.
There were 34 robberies in the Division of Public Safety’s patrol zone in 2012, down from 45 in 2011 for a 24 percent decrease.
Crimes against property — such as burglary, bike and auto theft — decreased by 6 percent in the same period, from 721 to 677.
According to Rush, these changes are in part due to initiatives put in place by DPS in 2011 and centered around the most common kinds of crime on campus — unattended property theft and bike theft.
Some of the greatest success has been in Van Pelt Library, where the number of thefts has decreased significantly since 2010.
Bike theft decreased by 19 percent, from 134 cases in 2011 to 109 in 2012.
“We like programs that are proactive instead of reactive to crimes,” Rush said.
She cited Operation Building Safe, a program launched in 2011 to retrofit buildings on campus with electronic access control locks and limit access after certain hours, as one of the initiatives of which DPS is particularly proud.
“Our goal is to have control over who gets into a building,” Rush added, as much property theft comes from leaving items unattended.
Retail thefts were down 67 percent from 15 in December 2011 to five in December 2012, a drop which DPS said is due to a policy of Penn Police officers filling out store logs frequently throughout the day.
The area stores most greatly affected by retail theft in 2012 were American Apparel, Urban Outfitters and both CVS branch locations.
DPS is still utilizing additional Allied Barton officers, undercover officers and more overtime shifts in response to the armed robberies on campus in December.
Rush explained that DPS varies its patrol coverage regardless.
“We look at patterns, we look at the timeline and then we deploy accordingly,” she said.