Duke Police releases '05 campus crime stats

Statistics released this month in the Duke University Police Department's annual Clery Report show that despite some fluctuation, crime numbers for the University remained stable in 2005.

Numbers for liquor-law and drug violations, robbery and forcible sexual offenses all decreased, but burglary and motor-vehicle theft both rose slightly.

"I think the numbers are going in the right direction, but I can't say I'm 100 percent happy. I'd love to be able to say that we have no crime," said Robert Dean, director and chief of DUPD. "We definitely should feel pretty safe, but we can't be satisfied and we must continue to take shared responsibility for keeping crime down."

The report was released in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, which mandates that colleges and universities release an annual report about campus crime and security with statistics covering the previous three calendar years.

Burglary and liquor-law violations remained the most common crimes in the 2003-to-2005 stretch, with 39 and 32 offenses, respectively, last year.

The report divides alcohol-related offenses into arrests, where a student is taken into custody, and referrals, which are cases in which no citation is issued but the incident is assigned to the Office of Student Affairs.

Referrals are typically 10 to 11 times more numerous than arrests.

The total number of alcohol-related incidents sank to 495 from the 2004 total of 577. Burglaries, however, experienced a slight upswing over previous years, from 34 in 2004. There were 37 incidents in 2003.

Sara-Jane Raines, DUPD administrative services executive officer, credited some of the drops, such as the one in robberies, to more aggressive patrol strategies adopted by the department.

She credited other decreases, especially in drug and liquor-law violations, to augmented DUPD outreach to students.

"I'll go on the record saying, yes that's why it happened," Raines said. "Of course you just don't know, but I'd like to think it's because we're working more closely with the students, and because we've got a new educational campaign. It could also be that the students are getting smarter."

The statistics also show that the majority of crimes within DUPD's jurisdiction occur on campus, rather than at the medical center or hospital. There were no recorded crimes at the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, N.C., in the report.

The report also shows no hate crimes, murders or occurrences of manslaughter.

Raines cautioned that the report does not give a complete understanding of all violations DUPD handles.

"The Clery Report is not necessarily a snapshot of all the crime that occurs on campus," she said.

"It's the things that the people at Security On Campus thought it was important for parents to know when they were deciding which school to send their child to," she added.

For example, larceny-which is not included in the report-occurs more often at the University than any other crime.

"Off the top of my head, I'd say that larceny accounts for half of the crimes we have and that's not on the Clery Report," Raines said.

A full index of the statistics for universities and colleges across the nation is posted on the FBI website. Raines added, however, that it is difficult to compare Duke's numbers to those at other schools because the University has a large medical center and a comparatively high employee-to-student ratio.


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