UR Security released the latest issue of its annual Think Safe report. The report provides an extensive review of crime prevention tips along with crime statistics.

“We’ve distributed 25,000 this year and by this time next year about 10,000 more,” Director of UR Security Walter Mauldin. “This was given to employees, prospective employees and prospective students.”

Also included in the report is a detailed statement of crime statistics for the past three years.

Burglary reports from the River Campus declined from 72 in 2003 to 26 in 2004.

Mauldin attributes the decrease in burglary to crime prevention efforts and visible patrols.

“I think we saw positive efforts by our crime prevention staff, our RA’s and our Student Aides,” Mauldin said. “I think a combination of these things had a positive impact.”

Continuing he said, “We’ve been doing even more educational programs this year. We went from about 5,000 people to about 8,000 people attending our personal safety presentations.”

The statistics should also be taken in light of a definition change on what constitutes a burglary.

“Burglary is viewed as the taking of property from a place where the culprit does not have permission to be,” Mauldin said. “For example, if you are in the library and leave your stuff on the desk for a while and if someone takes it before you’re back, then that’s larceny. But in a residence hall, it would be burglary because it was unlawful entry.”

While most settings provide for an easy classification of laws, a college campus presents unique challenges for defining crimes.

“In a student residence setting, there are some elements that fit the definition and some that don’t,” Mauldin said. “Basically, if a theft occurs at a private residence of a student, unless you have evidence to the contrary – like there was a party and someone was identified and had a reason to be there – then it is burglary.”

Meanwhile, in 2004, referrals of liquor law violations on the River Campus increased to 219 incidents compared with 142 such incidents the previous year.

Mauldin cites a change in student behavior last fall for the rise in liquor law violations rather than a change in enforcement.

“I don’t think it represents a change in enforcement,” Mauldin said. “It was just a change in behaviors over the fall so that’s why the numbers came back up.”

Continuing, he said, “I can’t say how significant the rise is. How this year will play out, I don’t know.”

While violent crimes remained very low on campus last year, one rape was reported in 2004.

“There was an incident [of rape] reported to us,” Mauldin said. “This was a case when the victim and the assailant knew each other. There was an arrest made but I can’t go into more detail than that.”

Moreover, Mauldin reports that there has been one report of sexual harassment this fall.

However, despite these events, Mauldin believes the university has many resources to help the victims.

“I think that Rochester has some pretty solid outreach efforts,” Mauldin said. “We have many resources available for victims who do file reports, including counseling.”

Overall, Mauldin believes that the ultimate way to prevent these crimes is to look out for one another.

“We have to take care of our neighbors,” Mauldin said. “Being a good neighbor and taking care of one another. I think that’s really, really important.”

Ultimately, the low crime statistics reassure students that they can feel safe on campus.

“I feel safe on this campus, but I am always aware of the dangers of being out at night alone,” sophomore Emily Calcagnino said.

Madhur can be reached at smadhur@campustimes.org.

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