KU campus crime down 13 percent; no weapons violations reported in first six months of campus carry

KU Office of Public Safety patrol vehicle, pictured June 2016

The number of crimes reported on the University of Kansas campus went down notably from 2016 to 2017, university police announced Friday.

Overall, crime decreased 13 percent, with 671 criminal offenses reported to KU police in 2017 compared to 770 incidents in 2016, according to a news release from the KU Office of Public Safety.

Notably, with lawful concealed carry of handguns being allowed on campus for the first time beginning July 1, 2017, KU police tallied zero criminal weapons violations in 2017, according to crime statistics provided by police.

Prior to 2017, campus police have recorded a total of 14 weapons violations since 2008, according to the statistics.

Released each spring, the KU Office of Public Safety’s annual crime statistics list by category all criminal offenses reported to the department in the past 10 years.

The crime statistics report does not list incidents that are violations of university policy but are not crimes under the law. It also does not include crimes — including sexual assaults — that are reported to university administration or other law enforcement departments; KU’s annual Clery report, mandated by federal law and released each fall, combines all of the above and includes campus proper as well as off-campus locations related to the university such as fraternities and sororities.

KU police noted that their ongoing efforts to combat crime include using “security technology” such as cameras on campus, according to Friday’s news release.

Further, the Office of Public Safety added more police and security officers in 2017, the news release said.

Three sworn police officers and three security officers were planned to be added in direct response to the start of campus carry, the Journal-World previously reported. The officers were envisioned to increase patrols in busy areas of campus, and the security officers were needed to staff portable metal detectors.

KU Police Chief Chris Keary said in the news release that he believes extra officers have been helpful.

“The campus community saw more police and security officers on foot patrol,” Keary said. “The added visibility of officers on campus helped people feel safer, but conversations with those officers also helped the community understand their role in safety and crime prevention.”

Violent crimes reported in 2017 varied only slightly from 2016. According to the statistics:

• There was one aggravated assault in 2017. The crime statistics do not indicate whether a weapon was involved. In 2016 there was also a single aggravated assault.

• There were two robberies on campus in 2017, up from one in 2016. The statistics do not indicate whether weapons were involved, but the Journal-World reported on two campus robberies in 2017, and neither was reported to have involved a weapon. In one robbery case, a pedestrian reported several people got out of a car, punched him and stole his wallet and phone. In the other, a pedestrian told police three men shoved him to the ground and stole two cookies he was carrying in a box.

• In 2017, five sex offenses were reported, comprising four rapes and one fondling. There were also five sex offenses in 2016, though that year they comprised three rapes and two fondlings.

KU’s 2017 crime statistics also showed:

• 148 drug crimes, up slightly from 143 in 2016.

• 32 liquor law violations, up from 17 in 2016.

• 14 assaults overall, down from 30 in 2016. Simple assaults accounted for the majority of the assault category, with eight simple assaults in 2017 compared to 23 in 2016.

• 38 burglaries, down from 48 in 2016.

• 116 criminal damage reports, down from 128 in 2016.

• 156 thefts, down from 213 in 2016. Additionally, there were two thefts of motor vehicles, down from six in 2016.