Penn sees 5-percent drop in crime in 2011
Theft from buildings dropped dramatically, especially in Van Pelt Library
January 24, 2012, 11:09 pm · Updated January 27, 2012, 1:06 am·
Alex Zimmerman | DP
Penn saw a 5-percent drop in crime during the 2011 calendar year, as well as a 7-percent drop in the fiscal year, which begins in July.
The decrease in theft from buildings saw a more dramatic change with a 19-percent and 31-percent drop during the calendar and fiscal year, respectively.
Maureen Rush, Vice President for Public Safety, attributed the decrease to “the community heating the education against unattended theft.”
For Rush, the biggest success story this year was fighting theft at the Van Pelt Library. There were 10 thefts between September 1, 2010 and January 22, 2011, Rush said. During this same time period from 2011 to 2012, only two occurred.
“People are being more careful,” Rush said.
Rush concluded the decrease in crime was the “jackpot pay off of many years of work from the unattended theft campaign.”
The next biggest theft problem on campus involves bike theft.
Over the past year, Division of Public Safety has worked to “harden our community” and reduce campus vulnerability, Rush said.
“Our area is an island of tranquility” compared to other areas on the crime map.
Domenic Ceccanecchio, senior associate vice president for Drexel University’s Department of Public Safety, said University City did a “pretty good job” in crime reduction this past year. Ceccanecchio said Drexel, which saw a 13-percent crime decrease in their patrol zone, faced similar problems in the area of unattended theft. Ceccanecchio said crime reduction is “a shared responsibility.”
Melissa Lucchesi, director of Program Service at Security on Campus — a nonprofit national organization involved in campus safety — said “students need to take a role to prevent crime.” She advocated for “proactive prevention work.”
“Engaging them as active bystanders and increasing awareness are really good ideas,” Lucchesi said.
S. Daniel Carter, an expert on campus security, spoke highly of Penn’s DPS.
“Penn has done a tremendous job at establishing the most professional campus police force and command center in the country,” he said.
Carter added Penn faces a “dual safety challenge” due to its urban campus. Penn deals with both street crimes and basic college challenges from student to student.
Penn’s safety services suggest “advocates and institutions can work together to forge improvements,” Carter said.
“We’re lucky we have had a decrease [in crime] against a lot of odds of what’s going on around the perimeter of campus,” Rush said.
She added DPS’s goal is to “educate you to think conscientiously and make it second nature.”
“The recipe for crime involves two things,” she said, “motivation and opportunity.” She added that “motivation will be there everyday, what needs to be taken away is the opportunity.”