Public safety report shows trend in campus crime

Crime has gone down drastically in some cases on Butler University’s campus according to a report released by the university’s department of public safety.

The 2009 Comprehensive Combined Annual Security Report and Annual Fire Safety Report provides students with a complete list of programs and services offered by the department as well as the number of crimes reported during the past three years.

The report is mandated by the Higher Education Opportunities Act and is important for students to understand the role of the department, Ben Hunter, chief of police and public safety director, said.

“The report really adds a transparency that you don’t see in local or federal government,” Hunter said. “It’s really designed to protect and inform our faculty, staff and students, as well as their families.”

Crime trends in general, show a decrease in the number of incidents in theft, burglaries and liquor law violations.

“Crime runs in cycles,” Hunter said. “We’re out there talking to people to make sure people know their risks.”

The numbers reflect a low amount of violent crime on Butler’s campus, something that is different than other campuses in urban surroundings, Assistant Chief Andrew Ryan said.

“We haven’t had a lot of violent crime because of our student body,” Ryan said. “We have a good, stable student body made of responsible adults who don’t get involved in those types of situations.”

Liquor law violations and arrests have decreased in the past three years, something Hunter attributes to programs set forth to encourage responsible drinking.

“Having strong educational programs has something to do with lower numbers,” Hunter said. “If the university relies on only one program, it will probably fail.”

The numbers are a reflection of the reports BUPD receives, Ryan said.

“You can either assume that people are drinking less in the resident hall or it’s people that don’t get referred,” Ryan said. “I think it’s a better enforcement of rules and regulations.”

Sex crimes often go unreported, which according to Ryan, skews the numbers.

Programs such as the Rape Aggression Defense Course are in place to encourage victims of such crimes to report the incidents.

“We want to teach women that it’s okay to say no,” Ryan said. “They have the power to protect themselves.

“I wouldn’t say the program has been a deterrent, but we’re working to educate women to understand what rape is, no means no and that you need to report and talk to someone.”

Overall, the statistics show that while the campus is generally safe, crime happens.

“The Butler-Tarkington neighborhood is a safe community,” Hunter said. “The statistics are kind of a reminder that we’re in the 12th largest city in the nation and that we’re not immune to crime.”

The numbers should make students aware of their surroundings on campus, Hunter said.

“We feel like we’re almost immune to crime because there’s so much going on around us that we don’t even pay attention to everything that is happening,” Hunter said. “We just assume that we’re safe because we have been so far.”

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