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Major crime decreased by 19 percent in University City in 2002, according to numbers recently released by the University City District. Most drastic were the decreases in homicide, residential burglary and auto theft, which plummeted by 50, 62 and 47 percent, respectively. These latest statistics follow a 16-percent decrease in major crime in University City in 2001. Statistics released by the Philadelphia Police Department also show that from 1998 through 2001, the last year for which complete numbers are available, major crime in the city has gone down steadily. And according to the United States Bureau of Justice, crime has followed a general downward trend throughout the country over the past five years. According to UCD Marketing Director Allison Kelsey, though the 19-percent decrease in University City may parallel an 11-percent decrease citywide in 2002, the repeated double-digit decreases in University City District specifically is still a significant step. Lieutenant Fred Carabonara of the University City Substation of the Philadelphia Police Department suggested that local crime has fallen because of increased communication among different security programs. "It used to be that we bordered the 16th District at Market [Street], and we had no idea what they were doing nor did we care," he said. Since John Timoney became police commissioner in March 1998, Philadelphia has been using the Compstat, a process by which data is analyzed in order to identify crime patterns in different city districts. Carabonara specifically cited this project as aiding in the decrease of crime in his district. Additionally, biweekly deployment meetings with the various UCD-run security programs and monthly University City District Public Safety Task Force meetings that include representatives from Amtrak, Septa, the fire department, local hospitals and universities may have helped diminish area crime, Carabonara said. Kelsey also suggested that increased awareness of crime issues, a more cautious population and UCD-initiated patrolling programs have all contributed to the lessening of major crimes. Still, both Kelsey and Carabonara see room for improvement. "Numbers can always be improved when it comes to crime," Kelsey said. Carabonara said that he sees the average 90 to 100 monthly thefts from buildings as one of the major problems in safety in this area. Most of these crimes, he asserted, occur mainly in university offices and dorm rooms. Despite security measures in these buildings, he feels that people can generally just walk in and take what they want. Another issue is theft from cars, which continues to plague the area despite significant improvements, he said. Carabonara added that things in the University City area are extremely different than they were for students and residents in this area five years ago. "Students can now walk around at all hours of the night," he said. "I work until two in the morning, and people walk around like it's two in the afternoon." For some students, like College senior Christopher Pennington, the latest crime information seems unimportant. "I've felt comfortable all the way through," Pennington said. "I think Penn does a really great job of making us safe and keeping us safe."

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