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Last March saw a 34-percent drop in crime rates compared to March 2010, according to statistics provided by the Division of Public Safety.

Property crimes decreased 35 percent, while violent crimes went down 28.5 percent — from 14 crimes to 10. The total crime for 2011 is 10 percent lower compared to the same period last year.

“Overall, we’re very pleased with the crime decrease,” Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said.

Particularly in violent crimes, “we’re doing well,” she added.

While happy with the improvement, Rush still urged students to guard against criminal trends developing across both Philadelphia and the Penn community.

Theft from automobiles has become an increasing problem for the larger Philadelphia area, despite a 41-percent decrease from last year on campus, she said

“That’s another warning to our community,” Rush added. “It’s a never-ending campaign for us.”

Thieves may be attracted to anything from a gym bag to a GPS, so cars should be “show-room clean” — with nothing left in plain view — to prevent criminals from breaking the window and stealing, Rush explained.

Penn Police Chief Mark Dorsey added, “We’re very concerned because people are unfortunately still leaving their valuables in plain view.”

The Penn community has also experienced an increase of 40 percent in bicycle theft compared to this time last year — with five recorded this March and only three recorded last March — according to the DPS statistics.

Rush attributed the minor increase primarily to improper locking and keeping bicycles outside, vulnerable to thieves.

Even when attached to apartment porches, “[thieves] will take the whole banister,” said Rush, stressing the importance of keeping bikes either indoors or secured with a U-lock rather than cables.

The warmer weather may have also encouraged the higher number, she said.

“There are more bikes out and more people out,” Rush explained. “There are [criminals] who will view that as an opportunity.”

With the overall decrease in crime, however, Rush said the main concern is keeping the same pace of improvement as the academic year comes to a close.

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