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September 05, 1991 - Image 48

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-05

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Page 6-The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition - Thursday, September 5, 1991






by Tami Pollak
Daily Staff Reporter

The numbers don't speak for themselves.
While FBI reports of increasing numbers of rapes
andjlarcenies in Ann Arbor might scare students into
adding martial arts lessons and tear gas to their pre-
college shopping lists, both Ann Arbor police and
University Department of Public Safety (DPSS)
officers say the numbers often prove more threatening
than the criminal element itself.
'For example, with rape statistics, when people
riad that, they think of the man jumping out of the
bishes and attacking a woman," said Ann Arbor
'Detective Douglas Barbour. "While that does happen,
'the majority of the rapes around here are date rapes -
which are still a crime, and just as terrifying - but
which are not what you walk around in fear of at
tiight," Barbour said.
But Barbour was sure to point that Ann Arbor is
note Trust-a-strangerville, U.S.A., either, as he said
nmany students will learn that within their first half-
hour in the city.
'"The most thefts involving students occur during
moving-in time. People forget to lock their car or their
door, and before they've even spent their first night at
college, their stereos or computers are gone," Barbour
said. "You're not in little hometown America. You
don't know the people, you should lock everything and
.usecommon sense."
..P"Get an anchor pad for your computer, or some kind
of;security advice, and engrave your driver's license
number on expensive belongings," stressed DPSS Sgt.
Vernon Baisden. "Even when you get to know the
,people around you in the hall, during the day, people
-car get into the dorms or students from other halls
walk around just looking for unlocked doors or
'unattended property in libraries or at the CCRB
(Central Campus Recreation Building)."
However, while a little bit of luck and adherence to
Bdisden's advice seems like sufficient preventive action
ffir most of the crimes recorded on' daily city police
'rdpdrts, from apartment burglaries to bicycle thefts to
"lather jacket rip-offs at fraternity parties, sexual
agsdult still remains one of the most frightening and
widespread problems in an Ann Arbor.
"t'm most worried about her walking around alone
t night," said Carole Miller, mother of incoming

t add up
As far as the long walks home students often face,
especially when returning from late weekend night
parties, students' options aren't as easily accessible aA
they are at many universities.
While Safewalk, a student-run organization,
provides a free coed escorted walks throughout the
week, both this facility and the University-run Nite-
Owl van, which has periodic pick-ups all over campus,.
stop service before 3 a.m.
"I really don't have an answer about what to -do
after that time," Baisden admitted. "I wouldn't
necessarily say do not walk alone at night, but if you're-
going to be out after dark, try to be aware of your
surroundings and take precautions - walk down.
lighted streets or near areas with emergency phones."
And while many parents see a canister of Armyi
surplus store tear gas as a smart extra precaution for
this kind of situation, both Barbour and Baisden were
wary of the option.
"It's always possible to be overpowered and have it
used against the victim," he warned.
Throughout the past few years, the University has
placed extra emphasis on improving lighting and
accessibility to emergency phones to help lower night-
walking incidents. Central campus now has about 40
emergency kiosk telephones directly connected to the
DPSS office so, once picked up, without the caller
saying anything, DPSS computers locate exactly where
the caller is and dispatches officers.
Baisden added that just recently, the University
phones have been put on a 911 system. "That means
anyone dialing 911 from a campus phone (a phone in a1
dorm room or in a campus building) directly connects
with DPSS." From a pay phone or private line,
however, the number the DPSS phone number is.763-
However, Baisden stressed that while all the focus
on self-protection and cautionary measures may make
Ann Arbor seem a mecca for rapists and robbers, things
are not that much different than in most students;
"You also have to remember that anything can
happen anytime, anyplace," Baisden said. "The
University of Michigan is a great place to go to school
and generally a safe one. You just have to use common
sense and take a few extra precautions."

A Safety Belt Enforcement Unit pulls over another unsuspecting traffic delinquent, possibly for not buckling
up. Meanwhile, other crimes, such as rape and assault, continue to rise in Ann Arbor.

first-year student Nicole. "I just keep stressing that
she should not walk around alone."
According to FBI reports, Miller's fear is not
ungrounded. Since 1989, the numbers of forcible rapes
in Ann Arbor has increased by 17%, a rate nearly
double the national average for large cities.
Furthermore, both police and counselors at the
University Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness
Center (SAPAC) further emphasize that these
statistics only reflect the number of reported rapes.
"So what we may be seeing is an increase in the
number of survivors reporting rapes. The actual
number of rapes each year is even higher," said
SAPAC's director, Julie Steiner.
Nationally, however, the FBI still maintains that
90 percent of rapes go unreported and that one out of
three women will be sexually assaulted at some point
in their lives.
Coupling those statistics with the population of a

university town, said Barbour, helps explain Ann
Arbor's soaring sexual assault rates.
"Any university town has a high incident of sexual
assaults because there's a high concentration of victim-
aged women," Barbour said, pointing out that rapists
have traditionally been attracted to university towns
because the nature of a campus invites women often to
walk around unescorted.
While Barbour's rape-prevention advice again
centered around common-sense measures like staying in
well-lit areas at night, trying not to walk alone, and
planning trips in advance to ensure that self-
jeopardizing situations won't arise, he also
recommended more foresightful prevention techniques.
"Pay attention to who and who doesn't live in the
dorms and call University security if you see someone
who shouldn't be there, because if they're there, they're
there for a reason, and it's not just to visit," Barbour

Continued from page 4
Smith later graduated from
M&ropolitan State University in
St.-Paul with a degrees in criminal
justice and human resource devel-
opment. He earned many of his un-
-dergraduate credits at the Univer-
-sity of Minnesota.
Although Smith said he will
miss the relationships in Minneapo-
lis, he said he will look forward to
his role as chief.
"It's a surprising transition,"
the 43-year-old Smith said. "I've
got 20 years on that job already, and
do I want to be 50 with 30 years as a
Y deputy chief or some other civil ser-
vice rank? It became clear, especially
after going to the FBI academy, that
I wanted to continue on and become
a chief executive someplace."
Several weeks ago, Smith circu-
lated surveys throughout the Ann

Arbor Police Department which
asked employees what they saw as
the department's goals, challenges,
and needed changes.
"They all spent a lot of time and
were very matter-of-fact," Smith
said. "They didn't pull any punches.
They told me what I wanted to hear
... what I was looking for - not
what I wanted to hear."
One issue that has been discussed
recently is the possibility of form-
ing a citizen review board. The im-
petus for this comes mainly from a
group of Univoisity students who
asked city officials for such a board,
after police used Mace to break up a
sorority party in December.
Smith said he believes the de-
partment should handle its internal
"I would like to spend some
time working with the officers on
any internal review because I feel
like I have some ideas about some

better communication skills and so
forth needed to probably reduce the
number of attitude, language and
demeanor complaints, which gener-
ally are the most prevalent in this
job," he said.
Smith added that he has re-
quested a lieutenant's position to
handle these types of complaints.
Another issue Smith faces is re-
lations between Ann Arbor police
and the University's newly depu-
tized police force. The city and the
University recently came into a dis-
pute over enforcing marijuana fines
at the annual Hash Bash.
Because the University insist to
enforce the state fines higher than
the city's $25 pot law, city officials
decided - on the day before the
Hash Bash - to withdraw Ann Ar-
bor police from the main campus.
"My hope is that in the future
we can work out these arrangement
ahead of time," Smith said.
Smith said he would also like to
establish strong relationships be-
tween the police and the commu-
"One of the things that came out
of the surveys ... was that there was


Police Chief Doug Smith came from Minneapolis to tackle the crime problems of Ann Arbor. Smith, who took
over the job in May, must figure out the best way for his force to work with the University squad..


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a perception that the community and
the department needed to get closer
together," Smith said. "Right now,
maybe the only existing tangent
where the two come together would
be meeting at 911 calls or calls for
police service.

"What we're looking for is a
much more ongoing interactive in-
teraction with neighborhood
groups, with individuals, with or-
ganizations. And there's an educa-
tion process on both sides that needs
to happen before that can occur."


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