Compared to last October, the previous month has seen a major downward trend in crimes against property, with an increase in forcible sex offenses in the month of October.
This year, there were 42 total crimes against property reported to the Division of Public Safety, down from 78 last year. The largest individual decrease in this category is that of bike thefts, down from 31 in 2014 to just seven this year. Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush alluded to DPS’s “Bait Bike” program, in which GPS-equipped bikes are placed on popular target spots and used to track down thieves. So far, DPS is 22 for 22 in recovered bait bikes and arrests.
Burglary was down from eight to zero, thanks in part to a pair of undercover officers whom Rush describes as the “Dynamic Duo.” The reduction in burglary is impressive given that many doors are left open on and around campus, Rush said. She added that it is important to keep in mind that burglaries in particular can occur in waves or sprees. Penn students need to think no further back than last year, when Anthony Bagtas was arrested for burglaries that occurred on campus in opened rooms in the Quadrangle.
There was a noticeable uptick in forcible sex offenses, from two in October 2014 to four this year. This could be due to the implementation of new reporting procedures, which has resulted in a greater number of victim’s coming forward. “This shows that the campaign to educate victims is working and that people are coming forward and reporting all types of sex offenses,” Rush said.
When asked what may have helped drive overall crime numbers down for the month, Rush replied “the synergy of our entire team has driven down our numbers significantly, and the community has embraced safety measures, especially walking escorts.”
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