Reported crimes on KU campus drop by 40% during pandemic

photo by: Sara Shepherd

KU Office of Public Safety patrol vehicle, pictured June 2016.

Reported crimes on the University of Kansas’ Lawrence campus have sharply decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic, when far fewer people have been on campus, according to statistics released Friday by the KU Public Safety Office.

KU Public Safety took reports of 349 criminal offenses on campus in 2020, which was a 40% decrease from 2019 and the lowest number reported in the past 10 years, according to the news release.

The public safety office said property crimes, such as theft and criminal damage, continued to make up the greatest number of offenses reported on campus, but both were down when compared with previous years.

Violent crimes, such as rape and aggravated battery, were also reported, but they were a small percentage of the overall crime total, the release said.

Chief of Police Chris Keary was not surprised by the decrease.

“The numbers reflect the fact that, due to the pandemic, there were fewer students in on-campus housing, and most employees were working from home,” Keary said in the release. “I would like to credit the employees who remained working on campus for keeping the buildings locked and secure.”

Crime statistics for the last 10 calendar years are available on the KU Public Safety website.

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