Overall crime is way down on Penn’s campus, thanks to a series of programs.
Total crime in the month of December decreased from 52 to 35 instances. The calendar year difference is also high, with 871 crimes in 2014 and 649 this past year.
Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush points to three specific programs as cause for the decline. Bike thefts have dropped from 167 in 2014 to 106 in 2015, which Rush attributes in part to the success of the Department of Public Safety’s Bait Bike program.
Retail theft was down from 87 to 61 counts, which could be due to a DPS program in which officers are stationed at retail locations with a high risk of theft.
Operation Building Safe, another DPS initiative, has helped bring theft from buildings down from 301 to 241 counts. Specifically, Rush alluded to the Sector Integrity Program, a part of building safe as a major factor. Under the program, Penn Police supervisors are assigned to individual buildings so that those stationed in the buildings will have a fixed point of contact.
Operation Building Safe also ensures that any visitors to campus will have to sign in and identify themselves to security guards, discouraging them from committing theft.
In 2015, reports of forcible sex offenses were up to 25 from 15 in 2014. Though this would seem to indicate an increase in sexual assaults on campus, it is more likely that changes in reporting procedures as well as awareness training account for this change.
While University City has seen its population increase from 48,589 in 2014 to 49,489 in 2015, the overall decrease in crime indicates the effectiveness of these programs.
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