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.