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CP Annual Report Shows Decrease in Thefts

By Jennifer Lane
Contributing Editor

The total number of thefts in 1996 at the Institute fell by about 36 percent compared to 1995, according to the annual report released by the Campus Police last Wednesday.

The Campus Police Crime Prevention Unit's series of seminars and other crime prevention measures promoted precautionary measures, thus reducing the temptation and opportunity for petty thieves, said Chief of Police Anne P. Glavin in Tech Talk.

Larceny was still the most widespread campus crime problem, and according to the report, could be partially attributed to MIT's "open campus" policy, the report said.

There were a total of 704 reported thefts at the Institute, down from 1,105 in 1995. The incidents were divided into three categories - residence, non-residence, and Institute property.

Theft in residences fell roughly 63 percent from last year to 68 reported thefts. The value of the stolen property was $40,669. Wallets, cash, bicycles, and camera equipment were the most frequently stolen items from residences.

Non-resident thefts dropped 33 percent to 475. The value of the stolen personal property was $218,361 with wallets, backpacks, and compact disc players leading the list of stolen items.

Thefts of Institute property also fell roughly 25 percent. This amounted to $220,420 in stolen property, once again composed mostly of computers and computer components.

Bicycle thefts fell from 227 in 1995 to 143 in 1996, with May being the month of most bicycle theft.

Arrests rose from 73 to 101, according to the report. This could also contribute to the decreased larceny rate, Glavin said. The most serious charge was assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, while the most common charge was trespassing.

According to the report, the "24-hour open campus policy is the major contributing factor to the trespassing problem. The hallways of this open campus frequently become street extensions, bringing in many of the problems of urban living."

Thirty-eight arrests resulted in convictions or guilty pleas, while 29 cases are still pending.

Serious crime on the decline

Incidents of aggravated assault fell to eight in 1996, from 17 in 1995. At the same time, incidents of simple assault rose from five to 13. During an aggravated assault, the victim is injured; in a simple assault, he or she is threatened but not harmed.

Three rapes were reported in 1996. One happened in 1993 and one in 1995. The last previous report of rape was in 1993.

Reports of hate crimes or incidents dropped from nine in 1995 to four last year. Two of these were related to sexual orientation, and the other two were tied to race or ethnic origin.

The number of reported obscene and annoying phone calls nearly doubled this year to 135 incidents.

The Campus Police received 17,053 requests for service during 1996. These incidents include criminal activity, emergency medical calls, escorts, and lockouts.

The Campus Police provided 371 details for clubs, organizations, departments, and non-MIT functions during 1996. This amounted to a total of 2,874 hours of detail time.

The full Campus Police Annual Report can be obtained on the World Wide Web at http://web.mit.edu/cp/www/anrep.