Crime reports at Kansas University decreased 7.6 percent last year, according to figures released Friday.
KU's Public Safety Office took reports of 897 crimes during 2001, down from 974 in 2000. The numbers are down 39 percent from 1997, when 1,479 crimes were reported. They include offenses reported on the Kansas University Lawrence campus.
Lt. Schuyler Bailey of the Public Safety Office called the figures "very encouraging."
He noted that property crimes, which make up a vast majority of the office's reports, decreased last year. For example, theft decreased from 380 in 2000 to 362 in 2001.
He credited students with not leaving belongings accessible for theft.
"We have a more-informed public," he said. "They're talking care of property. We start talking to students as early as freshman orientation about not leaving things unattended."
The overall crime drop comes despite assertions by KU police officials that the office is understaffed. Though KU has funding for 29 officers, many officers have left for better-paying jobs with other agencies.
"Right now, we're one shy of our authorized strength," Bailey said. "We're doing the best we can with the officers we have."
Violent crimes also were down on campus. There were 39 assaults Â down from 47 the previous year Â and no rapes reported for the first time in at least five years.
But Bailey said that doesn't mean rapes didn't occur.
"It's probably the most underreported crime there is," he said.
Embezzlement reports rose sharply this year. None were reported in 2000, but 11 in 2001. However, those reports stemmed from three cases Â one at Learned Hall, one at the KU Athletics Corp. and one at Parking Services.
A full list of crime reports received by the KU officials since 1997 can be found at www.ku.edu/~kucops.