Near Penn's campus, more crimes were reported this summer than in the past three years.
Penn Police responded to 231 crimes within their patrol zone from May 18 to Aug. 18 this summer, according to a report from the Division of Public Safety.
Last summer during the same time period, there were 195 total crimes, and in 2017, there were 185 total crimes from May 1 to Aug. 18. There were 168 crimes in 2016 from May 16 to Aug. 16. The significant increase in total crimes this year largely came from retail thefts at stores like CVS Pharmacy. Retail thefts have increased to 40 this summer from 12 retail thefts last summer and 27 such thefts in 2017.
The CVS thefts have been increasing across the country, particularly in Center City Philadelphia, Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said. The thieves are taking items not for personal use, but instead to sell as part of a major theft ring, she added. DPS has been working with CVS’s National Loss Prevention to prevent future thefts.
Total crimes against property – which include burglary, arson, auto theft, theft from auto, and bike theft – rose to 202 this summer from 168 last summer and 158 in 2017. There were 140 crimes against property in 2016.
An uptick in bike thefts contributed to the rise in total crimes against property. Thirty bikes were stolen this summer while 23 bike thefts occurred in 2018 and 19 in 2017. Despite the rise in bike thefts, Penn Police apprehended a repeat offender using their bait bicycle program. If someone steals one of DPS's bait bikes, the bike would signal police. Some high theft zones have bikes with GPS chips placed in them.
The suspect was identified stealing a bike on the balcony of the Chemistry Building at 34th and Spruce streets. Penn Police were able to apprehend him stealing a second bike, as well as recover the first bike from his residence.
One case of homicide was reported in Penn Police's patrol zone this summer, but the individuals involved had no connection to the University. A man physically assaulted a woman, which led to her death at the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center a few days after the assault. The attack occurred in an enclosed space with no members of the Penn community involved.
Simple assaults, which are the least serious form of assault, decreased from 12 last summer to 10 this summer, although two hospital nurses were assaulted, Rush said.
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