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Campus Police Arrest Suspicious Trespasser at Baker

By Venkatesh Satish
Contributing editor

Following a student report, Campus Police arrested an intruder for trespassing at Baker House Tuesday evening.

The arrest of Somerville resident Sean Driscoll came after reports of trespassing by a suspicious persons at Burton-Conner House, Baker House, and East Campus ["Intruder Infiltrates Dorms, Steals Items," April 30, 1996].

Driscoll does not match the description of that intruder, but "is a known thief," said Chief of Police Anne P. Glavin.

Driscoll was arraigned at the third Cambridge Court Wednesday. His bail was set at $300, and he may face a fine if found guilty. Trespassing does not result in imprisonment, and Driscoll may likely receive a year of probation, according to a spokesperson from the District Attorney's Office.

Driscoll gained entrance to Baker by following a student who activated the card reader, Glavin said. "He is relatively young and possibly could pass for a student," she said.

In general, the campus has had "some difficulty with people going into the entrance to dorms by tagging along," Glavin said.

Part of the problem is that students need to have an awareness of who belongs in their dormitories, Glavin said.

In order to achieve increased awareness, the CPs released an electronic mail bulletin containing tips for preventing future incidents, Glavin said.

"The mechanism is there to keep doors locked, but unless we use it, it creates a difficult situation," Glavin said.

Report reveals increase in crime

On Wednesday, the CPs released their annual report, which contains a compilation of statistics on crimes and police activity for 1995.

The report showed an increase in the number of serious crimes from 1994, a rise from 14 to 22. The serious crime category includes murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, although all the reported crimes were assaults.

"It was basically an average year for us on serious crime," Glavin said.

Criminal activity on campus was at a 10-year low in 1994, so the increase this year reflects a return to about the same level of crime seen in the past few years, Glavin said.

Over half of the serious crimes were committed by members of the MIT community or against police officers, Glavin said.

This fact "says something about the difficulty of human relations," Glavin said. "We are living at a time when people resort to violence rather than settling disputes through discussion, and that's some cause for concern."

Larcenies up sharply

Incidents of thefts on campus excluding dormitories rose to 706 from 466 the year before. In all, about $550,000 worth of property was stolen in 1995.

Residential thefts experienced a 173 percent increase in 1995, rising to 183 total incidents. Wallets, cash, and bicycles topped the list of items stolen most often. Yearly bicycle thefts increased from 170 in 1994 to 227.

Larceny "has always been our biggest problem, and that is usually the case at other colleges," Glavin said.

Part of the problem MIT has is that it is a so-called open campus, with corridors open to the general public until late at night, Glavin said.

The annual report grouped together a number of crimes ranging from obscene phone calls to peeping tom incidents. Crimes in this category rose to 256 from 203 the year before.

There were nine incidents classified as hate crimes in 1995, up from zero in 1994. Hate crimes are defined as crimes motivated by race, religion, handicap, gender, or sexual orientation.