The number of police reports on the Kansas University campus was down 18 percent last year compared to 1997.
First and foremost, Kansas University police officers are on campus to help.
That's what Lt. Schuyler Bailey wants to stress.
In 1998, the public safety office handled 1,208 reports. Although officers also make reports, their major role is to help students affected by crime.
"Property crime is still the No. 1 problem, thefts followed by burglaries," Bailey said.
The total number of reports was down 18 percent in 1998 compared to the 1,479 offenses reported in 1997. The number of burglaries was down 28 percent, and the number of thefts down 12 percent when compared to 1997, the police department's annual report said in April.
Violent crimes continued to make up a small percentage of crimes reported to the department. Despite the numbers, KU police say students should stay aware.
"Everyone on this campus needs to be aware of the crimes that happen and to minimize their vulnerability," Sgt. Troy Mailen said.
"We rely on the community to report any suspicious activity on campus and to report all crimes."
The department's jurisdiction is campus and its surrounding area. The state and city laws that apply in Lawrence also apply to campus.
"Once in a while we get students who ask, 'Can you do this?'" Bailey said, alluding to students who have been pulled over for speeding, for example. "The answer is, 'Yes, we can.'"
The 30 commissioned officers at KU patrol campus and are noticeable at athletic and cultural events.
"We cover all events designated to draw people," Bailey said.
Students also will see them in their patrol cars, on foot and on bike.
"We do bike and walking patrols when shifts allow," Bailey said. "You're more approachable that way."
The department has its own enhanced 911 system. Emergency calls on campus ring directly to KU's dispatch center, Bailey said.
The campus offers 23 exterior emergency phones and 33 interior emergency phones.
"They put you in contact with dispatch automatically," Bailey said of the emergency phones, often called "blue phones."
KU police offer the following suggestions for avoiding crime on campus:
- Keep residence hall rooms and apartments locked.
- Lock car doors. Many of the property crimes on campus involve auto burglaries.
- Avoid walking on campus alone at night. Police are available to escort students when staffing allows. KU also offers a program called Safe Ride in which students can request a free taxi ride.
- Obey all laws, including those pertaining to underage drinking. Alcohol is banned on campus except for areas designated by the chancellor.
- Use good locks for bikes on racks. Bikes are a commonly stolen item on campus, as are compact discs and books.
- Don't leave valuables in plain sight.
- Don't accept opened alcohol or mixed drinks from strangers because of the risk of Rohypnol, the so-called "date rape drug," a sedative that can be added to drinks.
- Most important, use common sense.
-- Deb Gruver's phone message number is 832-7165. Her e-mail address is