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Assaults, burglaries down from 2011 in Ohio State campus area

The number of reported crimes in the OSU campus area decreased in 2012. Local police couldn’t pinpoint a singular reason for the change, but attributed it to several factors including the semester conversion and increased crime awareness.
According to an OSU Board of Trustees report, the total number of on-campus crimes up to Sept. 30 involving aggravated assaults, burglaries, robberies and forcible sex offenses has decreased to 33 in 2012 from 38 in 2011.
The largest drop was the number of burglaries, down to 16 from 20. The number of aggravated assaults decreased to one from two, and the number of robberies and forcible sex offenses remained the same at 10 and six, respectively.
Off-campus crime has seen a more significant decrease. The report showed the number of crimes for aggravated assaults, burglaries, robberies and sexual assaults have each decreased.
The report showed the total number of crimes decreased to 511 between March and September in 2012 from 669 between those same months in 2011. The largest drop was in the number of burglaries, which fell to 356 in 2012 from 499 reports in 2011.
Columbus Police Precinct 4 Commander Chris Bowling said he doesn’t know specifically what caused the decrease, but factors such as the semester conversion and identifying crime trends might have contributed.
“Obviously things changed this year because of the dynamics on campus with the switch to semesters,” Bowling said. “We were aware that students were coming back earlier so we put more officers in the area.”
Other factors, such as increased awareness of crimes, might explain the lower number of crimes, said University Police Captain David Rose. He said the publication of crime information, such as issuing public safety notices via email, increased crime awareness.
Rose also said the work of University Police, along with Columbus Police, is part of the combination of factors that helped lower crime.
A mutual-aid agreement between the two police forces was announced by Undergraduate Student Government president Taylor Stepp on Sept. 19, giving University Police the ability to intervene in the off-campus area without receiving permission from Columbus Police if a violent crime is believed to occur. The two departments also agreed to share resources such as equipment and personnel, however, the effects of the relatively new agreement have yet to be seen.
“We’re still in the training process to get the officers familiar with what their authority is under the mutual-aid agreement,” Rose said. “So it will be a while before we see the effect of that.”
University Police doesn’t anticipate hiring any additional officers because of the mutual-aid agreement, Rose said.
Some students said they feel safer in the campus area knowing there has been less reported crime this year.
“It’s nice knowing that it’s safe on campus and I don’t have to worry about it as much,” said Joe Ebert, a first-year in mechanical engineering.
Annika Bowersock, a second-year in accounting, called the lower number of reported crimes “very reassuring.”
Despite the decrease in the number of crimes, both officers said the OSU community needs to continue taking action to prevent crimes.
“There has been a reduction in crime, but that doesn’t mean that our work is over,” Rose said. “As a community, we need to focus on the things that we can control, which is being aware that crimes do happen and that there are certain things we can do to lessen the risk.”
Bowling agreed.
“We’d rather you call us and it be nothing than not call us and be a problem,” Bowling said.

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