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Total crime in the Division of Public Safety patrol zone dropped slightly in April. Crime against persons dropped by nearly half.

Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said that this April saw “a very nice decrease in overall crime” in comparison to April of last year.

There was a slight uptick in crimes against property, a category which includes burglary and theft. This increase did not extend to crimes against persons, such as robbery and assault, which decreased from 13 incidents in March to eight in April.

The biggest reduction in crime against persons in April was in the category of assaults — both simple and aggravated. Aggravated assaults — which usually involve more serious injuries than in simple assaults — dropped from four to one. The number of simple assaults also decreased, from seven to one.

Rush said she believed the drop in crime stems from “a combination of people target hardening themselves, as well as aggressive patrol on the part of our officers.”

Without this aggressive police work from Penn Police, “these numbers would look a lot different,” Rush said.

Despite the drop in assaults this month, they are still up 50 percent in the current fiscal year compared to the prior one. Rush acknowledged that “assaults — especially aggravated assaults — have been a problem,” but noted that many of the incidents have little, if any, affiliation with the University.

Rush said that several of the assaults in the current fiscal year have been against medical personnel at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. DPS is looking into how to prevent incidents such as these from happening in the future, she added.

In one notable incident, a Penn Police officer spotted several individuals stealing deli meat from a truck while its two drivers were inside of a store.

Once the three spotted criminals were apprehended, DPS worked with the Philadelphia Police Department — as part of a larger system of intelligence sharing between the two groups — to make the discovery that this was part of a larger criminal ring.

Criminals had allegedly been stealing deli meat from delivery trucks in Philadelphia and selling it on the black market to small grocery stores. The arrests by Penn Police were the first steps in dismantling this ring, according to Rush.

While calling April a “good month” for safety around campus, Rush said that the department must stay vigilant in May and beyond. “We need to make sure we all stay conscious in regards to patrolling this campus going forward.”

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