University Police (UP) announced Tuesday that in the last three years, crimes have decreased 32 percent, and the 2009 numbers are already showing the same trend, said UP spokeswoman Lt. Meg Ross.
From 2005-08, arrests rose from 238 to 293 – a 23 percent increase, according to a report. So far this year, UP has made 182 arrests.
Ross said burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and aggravated assault have shown the largest drops at the University.
“We can’t say that we are the cause for this drop in crime,” she said. “We would like to, but then people might turn around and say that crimes went up because it was our fault.”
The Total Index Crime dropped from 568 reports in 2005 to 388 in 2008, decreasing by 12 percent each year. A total of 171 reports have been filed this year, according to a report.
Ross said UP made changes in the last three years like “physical and proactive kind of police work,” DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols that have allowed for better security on and around campus.
The addition of AlliedBarton Security has also helped report thefts and give UP “more eyes and ears” on campus, Ross said.
Ross said UP was awarded a $318,000 grant in 2007, which allowed the department to purchase additional police cars and fund officers’ salaries to extend their patrols to 46th Street and 42nd Street near campus.
Crime research conducted at USF by Robin Ersing, a social work professor, found that 60 percent of arrests made by UP were people not affiliated with the University, Ross said. UP provided Ersing with the data for her study.
“We’re a state university and an open campus, and people come out here for more than to just take classes,” she said. “A good percentage of the people that we arrest have no purpose or official business here on campus.”
Ross said the decrease in crime extends beyond campus.
“Crime is down countywide,” she said. “It’s part of a general trend that has been going on in the area.”