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September 08, 1988 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-09-08

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Page 12-- The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 8, 1988



Security fights

growing 'U'

crime rate

The University has the highest
serious crime rate of any Big Ten
s9choo1, according to statistics from
the Federal Bureau of Investigations
and Big Ten campus security forces.
*'In its latest edition of "Crime in
the United States," published in July
1987, the FBI reported Michigan
Stite University has the largest
number of serious crimes - which
include rape, murder, assault, arson,

and larceny - of the seven Mid-
western conference schools from;
which the FBI receives crime data.
But the University, whose De-
partment of Public Safety and Secu-
rity does not file crime information
with the FBI, had more serious
crime in 1986 and 1987 than Michi-
gan State and the two other nonre-
porting schools, Purdue and North-
western Universities, according to
those schools' public safety depart-

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LAST YEAR, the University's
Department of Public Safety and
Security recorded 24,929 total
crimes, almost two percent higher
than in 1986. University and per-
sonal property losses, in 1987, val-
ued just under $900,000.
- Despite the University's compar-
atively high percentage of serious
crimes - which last year made up
11 percent of the campus crime total
- the number of serious crimes
decreased slightly from 1986.
The number of recorded rapes, or
first-degree criminal sexual conduct,
dropped from five in 1986 to three in
1987. But Ann Arbor Police Chief
William Corbett said he believes
police are still not hearing about
many of the sexual assaults occur-
ring on campus.
"Usually, there's a relationship
between the rapist and the victim,"
Corbett said, "(And) it goes on be-
hind closed doors. It's very difficult
for the police to have any impact on
JULIE STEINER, director of
the University's Sexual Assault
Prevention and Awareness Center,
said nationwide studies show that 90
percent of campus rapes are com-
mitted by acquaintances of the
victims and occur in either the vic-
tims' or assailants' homes. She ad-
ded that victims rarely report the
crimes to police or other security
"You get a disproportionate
number of stranger rapes being re-
ported," she said, and stressed that
Public Safety's 1986 and 1987
statistics represent stranger rapes
The geographical area covered by
Public Safety is very limited,
Steiner said. "(A sexual assault) has
either got to be in a dorm or in a
college building," she explained. "If
it happens on East or South Univer-
sity, that would have to go through
the Ann Arbor police."
In 1986, the Center received 13
reports of first-degree criminal sexual
conduct, defined by state law as
forced sexual penetration, and 42 last
year. Steiner said those numbers do
not include second, third and fourth-

degree CSC crimes, the combined
total of which Public Safety reported
as 11 in 1987.
LEO HEATLEY, director of
Public Safety, has assured the Uni-
versity community that his depart-
ment can provide students with
security escorts whenever requested.
"It's not that it's not safe to walk
(on campus) alone outside at night,"
Steiner said. "Just take precautions
and walk confidently." She said the
number of sexual assaults reported in
the city and on campus are not above

crimes," said Ann Arbor Police Det.
Jerry Wright, director of crime pre-
"When you want to play racquet-
ball, you set your backpack outside
the court," Heatley said. "People
study in (library) carrels, and they'll
get up and leave for a drink of wa-
ter." In both cases, he explained,
thieves just have to walk down the
halls to commit crimes.
Heatley added that many of the
buildings around the medical school,
such as the two Medical Science
Buildings and the Kresge Hearing
Research Institute, are often subject
to larceny. "There are a lot of re-
search projects going on," he said,
"which causes people to work odd
hours." The constant, especially late-
night, traffic at those locations in-
creases the chance for crime, he said.
"We have a lot of seasonal crimes
in this city," Wright said, "based on
special events, special holidays. We
see crimes that occur in cycles."
Safety statistics, University crime
rates soar in the month after winter
vacation, when returning students
begin to file reports on items stolen
during the break. Last January,
property theft on campus was worth
$136,200, five times the previous
month's total.
"You get a lot of vacant apart-
ments," Heatley said. "Chances are,
no one is going to walk in on (the
During the school year, Heatley
noted, students are constantly vic-
timized by larceny when they leave
the doors to their residence hall
rooms unlocked. "We have an ordi-
nance in the city which requires lock
devices for windows and doors,"
Wright said. "Students often don't
use those devices."
Heatley estimated that around 50
percent of campus larceny perpetra-
tors have no connection to the Uni-
"THERE'S A certain element
of people (around campus) who roam
the halls looking for unlocked
rooms," he said. Corbett attributes
much of the crime on and near cam-
pus to homeless or unemployed per-
sons and former mental institution
patients who frequent University ar-
Students living in dorms rarely
report strangers wandering around the
halls, Heatley said. "(The students)
just want to have everybody come
and party."
In the late 1960s, Public Safety
arranged with city police to use their
department's computer terminal of
the Law Enforcement Information
Network, the state branch of the Na-
tional Computer Information Center.
The University now feeds most data
it gathers on stolen items and miss-
ing persons into the Lansing-based
computer tracking system.
Heatley said that the identifying
marks on stolen objects, rather than
their values, determine whether in-
formation on the items will be sent
through the LEIN system.
FOR THE students' benefit,

Public Safety arranges for most rest
idence halls to have engravers mask
personal possessions. The program,
called Operation Identification, tries
to thwart crime by placing students,
University identification numbers o
driver's license numbers on any val-
uable belongings having a metal
Despite access to the LEIN sys-
tem, Heatley said Public Safety De-
partment's recovery rate of stol
goods remains low. Cars are usually
retrieved in a few leftover parts.

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Vehicle larceny and crimes occur-
ring in or near automobiles are also
significant campus safety problems,
Heatley said. Last year, Public
Safety reported 68 cars stolen from
University property.
Robert Patrick, assistant director
of public safety, said campus park-
ing structures are frequent sites of
auto larceny, robbery and assault.
CORBETT SAID the campus
has "organized auto theft rings. It's a
rather affluent community (with) a
lot of high tech. It's like going into
a large department store and shop-
ping for what you want."
For example, Patrick said, a rash
of car thefts surfaced just before
Thanksgiving break last year in
which a team of three persons work-
ing out of Detroit stole seven 1987
cars from a University parking
"They had a driver, and two
(people) picking up cars," Patrick
Corbett said he thinks new Uni-
versity students leave themselves
open to crime. "There's always a
new crop of students coming in," he
said. "If they're not really conversant
with the ways of urban areas, they're
more susceptible (to being crime
ALMOST 95 percent of seri-
ous campus crimes committed last
year involved theft. "Students more
often are victims of general property

Police can occasionally nab othe
"hot" items such as computers and
calculators before they disappeart9
area pawn shops, Heatley said, bta
only if the pieces carry identificatioV
marks which are still intact.

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