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Residence thefts drop again in 1988

By Andrew L. Fish

Thefts of personal property from on-campus residences dropped substantially in 1988, according to the 1988 Annual Report of the MIT Campus Police Department. The report, which was just released, said there were 44 residence thefts in 1988, compared to 70 in 1987 and 165 in 1986. The dollar value of property stolen dropped from $16,000 to $12,000. The dormitory most plagued by theft was East Campus with 10 reported larcenies.

Campus Police Chief Anne P. Glavin was pleased with the drop, which she attributed both to the Housing Office upgrade of dormitory security during the past two years and "heightened awareness" of crime prevention among dormitory residents. "You have to give credit to students," she said.

While the number of thefts of MIT-owned property dropped from 155 to 135, the dollar value of the property rose from $273,000 to $354,000. Thefts of personal property from non-residence buildings and areas rose from 144 to 185, but the dollar value of the property only rose from $23,000 to $26,000.

Suspicious person checks rise

Checks of suspicious persons on the MIT campus more than doubled last year, the report said. Of the 308 persons stopped, 110 "checked out ok," compared to 30 of 149 suspicious persons in 1987 (an increase of 267 percent). Trespass warnings rose from 109 to 184 (69 percent). This was the highest number of checks since 1982.

Glavin said the Campus Police have not changed their procedure for stopping suspicious persons, and that the number of individuals stopped "naturally varies from year to year." She suggested that the increase may be partially due to an increase in the number of overall complaints from community members.

"Routine checks of suspicious persons are conducted when requested by members of the community or when initiated by an officer during the course of routine patrol activity," the report said.

Although the number of checks rose dramatically, the racial distribution of those stopped was similar to 1987. Of the 293 stops which were categorized by race, 56 percent (165) of those stopped were white, 29 percent (84) were black, and 15 percent were unknown. In 1987 61 percent of those stopped were white, 25 percent were black, 12 percent were unknown, and one percent were Asian.

Small increase in

crimes against persons

The number of serious crimes against persons rose from 22 to 23, while the number of other crimes against persons rose from 140 to 149. The only significant drops were in the number of disorderly persons (14 to 6) and malicious destruction of property (from 36 to 21). Obscene and annoying phone calls rose from 31 to 54 and incidents of vandalism rose from 22 to 33. Assaults on police officers rose from one to five.

Glavin said the amount of serious crime on campus remains at a relatively low level. But she expressed concern about the increase in harassing phone calls. While noting that an educational campaign could have increased the number of reports, she said the figure "points to some general problems" on campus.

The number of Campus Police arrests dropped from 81 in 1987 to 76 in 1988. But there was a significant change in the racial distribution of arrests. The number of blacks arrested rose 81 percent (from 21 to 38), while the number of whites arrested dropped 30 percent (from 50 to 35). In both years the most common charge was trespassing. Glavin said the change was simply a yearly fluctuation, and said that the racial breakdown of suspicious person checks showed that the Campus Police "don't go looking for one race or another."

1988 marked the first year of Anne P. Glavin's tenure as campus police chief. She took over from James Olivieri in December 1987.