Dorms get high percentage of campus crime, mid-year report says

Daily Sundial

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The mid-year Clery Act Crime Report detailing incidents of crime that occurred on and near campus between Jan. 1 and June 30 shows that a high percentage of campus crime took place in the University Park Apartments near student residence halls.

Both incidents of rape that occurred during this period on campus occurred in the residential area of campus, the University Park Apartments, where 15 residence halls are located.

Of the 31 incidents of burglary on campus, 23 incidents occurred in the UPA. Two of three campus incidents of aggravated assault took place in the UPA.

Additionally, of the 23 incidents of simple assault on campus, 16 took place in the UPA. Nine drug violations took place in the UPA, with 11 more taking place on campus.

Statistics must be compiled by CSUN police for certain crimes reported by a victim or witness to the police or a campus official with significant responsibility for student and campus activities.

The police must make public a report by Oct. 1 of each year, but are not obligated to make public a mid-year report.

According to the Clery Act Crime Report from 2003, crime in residential areas was also high in 2003. The 2004 report was released last week.

Christina Villalobos, CSUN police spokesperson, said the police are aware of this issue, and have already taken steps to ensure safety in the dorms. As of September 2004, CSUN police implemented a community police team dedicated to the UPA.

“This will add a layer of security for students,” Villalobos said.

The police team consists of two officers on duty Wednesday through Saturday between 6 p.m. and 4 a.m. The officers will be able to build relationships with the students and help educate them with presentations about safety, Villalobos said.

The CSUN police recently conducted a survey and found that the crime rate was reduced by 34 percent in the UPA since the team was put in place.

CSUN police offer crime prevention and security programs for students. The department also provides a list of recommendations on how to avoid being a victim of auto theft and burglary prevention, and how to maintain personal safety in an on-campus apartment or while on campus in general.

“Safety is always an ongoing issue,” said Mike O’Neal, community coordinator for Student Housing and Conference Services at CSUN.

According to O’Neal, Student Housing is aware of what is going on from the daily crime log and from staff in Residential Life, including resident advisers.

He said he is aware that students and parents are concerned about safety and said Student Housing offers parent orientation night to help alleviate fears.

The crimes are put into a daily crime log available on the CSUN police website.

Not every incident or suspicion makes it into the log, said Joy McConnell, who is responsible for recording the crimes in the daily log.

After a call is placed to dispatch, a police officer goes to the scene and decides if a crime has been committed, McConnell said.

The crime report also includes crimes committed on campus that were reported to the Los Angeles Police Department instead of CSUN police.

Some students say many crimes may not have been included in the mid-year report simply because they were not reported in the first place.

“Not many people report sexual assault crimes,” said Rachel Levitt, assistant director of the Women’s Resource and Research Center at CSUN.

According to Villalobos the most common crime on campus is property theft, frequently involving backpacks and personal items.

According to the report, there have been 82 incidents of theft, with 20 committed in the UPA. The second highest crime was burglary with 23 out of 31 incidents occurred in Student Housing.

“This is an urban institution,” O’Neal said, referring to the area that CSUN is located in. He said crime is always higher in those areas, and (that) people need to realize that.

Melanie Saxe can be reached at melaniensaxe@hotmail.com.