Ohio State University Public Safety released its annual security report on Sunday, which included campus area crime statistics that have been compiled over the last three years. The report divides the crimes into two areas — residence halls only (campus) and the campus area not including residence halls (off-campus).
“I would encourage students and faculty and staff to take some time and look it over.” University Police Chief Paul Denton said.
One increase is in reports of aggravated assault. There were five reports in the campus area not including residence halls in 2008, while none were reported the past two years.
However, these assaults were not aimed at OSU students. Denton said two of the five victims were police officers who were almost struck by a vehicle while attempting to stop a drunk driver. Another assault occurred when a fight broke out at a Metallica concert, and two assaults occurred at the East 11th Avenue basketball courts when shots were fired. All reports were handled by University Police.
“This was not students being victimized,” Denton said.
Another significant increase was in the number of drug-related arrests in the area not including residence halls. While drug offenses in residence halls remained relatively low, police made 40 more arrests in the rest of the campus area.
“Drug law violations have been trending steadily upwards nationally,” Denton said. “Most common [on campus] is marijuana, but we are seeing more serious drug violations.”
Denton said that police officers have taken drugs from people who are visiting the OSU Medical Center.
Weapons law violations and motor vehicle theft also saw increased activity. There were two weapons law violations in 2007 and five in 2008, and instances of motor vehicle theft increased from 17 in 2007 to 21 in 2008.
The increase in motor vehicle thefts was not just a local occurrence and most likely reflects a national trend that is a result of the economic downturn.
Despite the increases in some types of crime, there have also been significant decreases in other types.
“Downtrends, obviously are what we are most proud of,” Denton said.
Total campus reports — which include instances from both residence halls and the campus area — of arson, robbery and forcible sexual offense decreased by approximately 50 percent from 2007.
Denton attributes the decrease in forcible sexual offense to the the new system of reporting. In past years, police would take reports of forcible sexual offense “not just from law enforcement, but from any safety official,” Denton said. Some of this information came from off-campus areas and from anonymous sources. Any report that could not be proved to have occurred off-campus was automatically filed as a campus incident.
Beginning in 2008, the police worked more closely with these safety officials and met with them regularly in order to ensure more exact information, Denton said. As a result, this year’s reports of forcible sexual offenses are more accurate than ever.
Denton said the decreases in crime activity are because of better campus policing.
University police have analysts that track crime trends and follow developing crimes.
They are increasing their plain-clothed and uniformed officers, depending on the situation of the area. Better technology, campus alarm systems and public safety cameras have helped to combat total campus crime.
Denton said the security report does not include just students.
“Not all of these are student arrests,” Denton said. “[The report] involves the entire campus community, including hospitals, special events, concerts and traffic stops.”
For more information and to view the whole report, visit ps.ohio-state.edu.