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Crime during last week's spring break period dropped to its lowest level in recent years, highlighted by just two serious incidents and a small number of minor thefts. University Police said that only 12 criminal incidents were reported between March 10 and March 20, reflecting a rate not significantly different from the rate in weeks when campus is more fully populated. Victims in neither of the more serious crimes sustained major injuries or losses. The most significant incident of the week occurred in the early morning hours of March 10, when a female University student reported that she was grabbed by an unknown man while walking on Woodland Walk, located behind Steinberg-Dietrich Hall. According to the student, the man crept up behind her and grabbed her by the neck, at which point he warned her not to make any noise. Seconds later, he fled in an unknown direction without taking anything anything. The student was not hurt in the incident. In the other serious reported crime, a house on the 300 block of South 40th Street was burglarized later the same day. Police responded to a call from concerned neighbors and arrested two 19-year-old New Jersey men, identified as Joshua Simmons and Johnny Bravo, whom police observed attempting to remove items from the residence. The two men had apparently gained entrance to the house through a skylight. A check of the premises later confirmed that they did not remove or damage anything. The other 10 crime reports include three bicycle thefts and seven minor thefts from within automobiles and area buildings. The total value of all items reported stolen was about $3,600. Police officials are crediting certain preventative measures with helping to reduce crime, including an off-campus registering program which allowed vacationing students to request that police patrol the area around their homes several times a day during break. "I was pleasantly surprised," University Police Deputy Chief of Investigations Thomas King said. "The checks and patrols went pretty well." The registration program, King added, has been specifically successful in both preventing crime and establishing bonds between the police and off-campus residents. "It's something that we're working on as we reach out to the off-campus locations, and we're really trying to extend the program," he said. "It seems to be working." King said that while University Police are proud of the recent drop in crime -- and specifically pleased with the results of their efforts to combat crimes such as bike theft -- the department continues to take steps to prevent future incidents. "It's a combination of factors [that contribute to the decrease in crime]," King said. "We're cautiously optimistic that the crime will stay low."

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