Archive for Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Crime declines at KU residence halls

Education efforts, cameras, restricted access all touted

February 26, 2008, 6:00 p.m. Updated February 27, 2008, 12:00 a.m.

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KU residence hall crime data revealed

In the past 10 years, crime at KU residence halls has declined dramatically. But as 6News reporter Jonathan Kealing shows us - the drop is not as pronounced everywhere. Enlarge video

Kansas University students walk to their dormitory on Daisy Hill earlier this week as the last of the day's sunlight illuminates a residence hall in the distance. Crime is down across campus during the past several years, a decline that was also shown in the residence halls. But in larger residence halls, crime has not fallen at the same rate as in the slightly smaller halls.

Kansas University students walk to their dormitory on Daisy Hill earlier this week as the last of the day's sunlight illuminates a residence hall in the distance. Crime is down across campus during the past several years, a decline that was also shown in the residence halls. But in larger residence halls, crime has not fallen at the same rate as in the slightly smaller halls.

Crime at Kansas University's residence halls has decreased about 20 percent from 2005 to 2007, according to a Lawrence Journal-World computer-assisted analysis.

"I think a lot of that has to do with education," said Capt. Schuyler Bailey, KU Public Safety Office spokesman. "We start talking to our students (about crime prevention) in the summer before they ever get here."

But crime in the larger residences has not declined at the same rate as in the somewhat smaller halls.

Bailey said there's nothing inherently difficult about policing larger buildings, and nothing that makes them more prone to crime. Simply, he says, big buildings give criminals more of an opportunity to take things.

"There's a lot more people in big buildings and they have a lot more property," Bailey said.

Oliver and McCollum halls and Jayhawker Towers topped the list of crime reports most years. Oliver is home to as many as 650 people and reported 27 crimes in 2007. McCollum is home to as many as 900 and reported 24 crimes in 2007 while the Jayhawker Towers house as many as 800 and reported 24 crimes in 2007.

McCollum and Jayhawker Towers each took a turn at the top of the rankings for most crimes in a year since 2005. And when ranked by crimes per resident, McCollum came in second among large residence halls in two of three years.

As Bailey indicated, most crimes are property crimes. In all three years, property crimes accounted for at least half of all incidents in McCollum and Jayhawker Towers.

In two of the past three years, Oliver Hall had more crimes per person than any of the other KU residence halls. In one year, Oliver tied for the most crime reports without respect to the number of residents. Oliver Hall, home to primarily freshmen, has a lower percentage of property crime, but accounts for many of the crimes related to substance abuse.

It was often at or near the top of the list for crimes like disorderly conduct, aggravated battery, and drug or alcohol possession. Brandon Steinkuhler, a freshman from St. Louis, said people at Oliver like to have a good time.

"You could say that more parties go on here," he said. "You could say the kids here are a lot more crazy than kids who live up on the hill, though I've never been to a party on Daisy Hill."

Now, to be fair, Steinkuhler doesn't feel unsafe. And he doesn't want to move. It's just that people at Oliver like to have fun, and sometimes that means the police are called, he said.

In smaller halls, police calls are more rare. Among the 11 scholarship halls, there were only three reports of violent crimes: an aggravated burglary at K.K. Amini, a report of lewd and lascivious behavior at Dennis E. Rieger and a battery at Stephenson.

All of the scholarship halls combined accounted for 36 police reports over three years, with several reporting none. Each scholarship hall is home to between 40 and 50 people.

Bailey said that in terms of combating property crimes, educating early and often is the key to cutting instances of occurrences.

The public safety office has also added cameras to the exterior of all residence halls, which Bailey said has likely contributed to the declining crime rate.

"We weren't quiet about putting them up," he said. "We wanted the world to know if you committed a crime in the parking lot, you could be on camera."

KU freshman Rufio Hong, of Atlanta, said that new ID scanners at doorways may have had the biggest impact in changing the environment in residence halls.

"There was a lot more partying early in the semester, before the card readers," he said.

Bailey said that makes sense, as any time you restrict access to a building, in this case to hall residents and those who are accompanied by a resident, you will create a safer atmosphere.

"Driving crime rates down have been a collaborative effort between administrators, the students themselves and our efforts," Bailey said.

Comments

lmm 7 years, 2 months ago

thought it was bad practice that just ANYONE could walk into Oliver, up the stairs and take personal items....

booze_buds_03 7 years, 2 months ago

Hawk knows everthing about anything and everything. I wish I had so much infinite wisdom

mmmskyscraper 7 years, 1 month ago

I lived in Towers, and I lived in Lewis and Ellsworth (before it was renovated, even!) A lot of the incidents that happened when I lived on campus happened because doors were unlocked. A lot of times doors will be open or unlocked because lots of dorms are about community. It's a great idea, but it also makes it much easier for thefts to occur. Either there needs to be more security in the lobbies, or people need to keep their doors locked when they're out.

fu7il3 7 years, 1 month ago

How is security in the lobby going to help? Do you really think that people inside the dorms don't steal?

mmmskyscraper 7 years, 1 month ago

Honestly, if someone had stolen something from my room, my first thought would not have been that it was someone in my dorm, so that's definitely a good point. Maybe I was too trusting.

I just hope that the reduced crime rate continues. I know when I lived on campus there were thefts when residents were in their rooms (not sure how, but it happened) and a couple assaults on people who fell asleep in common areas. I don't consider the dorms unsafe, but I'm glad KU's trying to make residents aware that crimes do occur.

misseve 7 years, 1 month ago

I wonder if these numbers include the Lewis Hall? Ekdahl dining hall having bullet holes in the windows

Eurekahwk 7 years, 1 month ago

I lived in Ellsworth for three years prior to renovation, and I never had any problems with thefts. In fact, the only time I did have that issue was from a roommate in Templin where he used to like to bring the party to our four person suite. I always found it funny how the biggest thieves were actually kids from well-to-do homes who didn't need to steal. A guy whose dad was a doctor was the one I had to be most leary of.

James Bennett 7 years, 1 month ago

misseve: the numbers do indeed include Lewis Hall; the specific data for it is online here:

http://www2.ljworld.com/data/crime/ku/residences/lewis_hall/

Or click on the link in the list of residences here:

http://www2.ljworld.com/data/crime/ku/

-- James Bennett, web developer, LJWorld.com

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