UP: Crime of first few weeks not surprising

As USF continues to grow and diversify with each passing school year, the crime on campus grows as well.

“We’re still growing as a community on campus,” said Sgt. Mike Klingebiel, University Police spokesman. “We’re very fortunate that our occurrences of crime are low compared to the surrounding area.”

Compared with the first three weeks of school last year, the number of crimes such as auto theft, simple assaults and burglaries have increased, according to a report from the UP records office. During the first three weeks of the fall 2005 semester, three burglaries were reported. Eight burglaries were reported throughout the same period this year.

While the actual numbers in certain crimes appear to have risen slightly, Klingebiel said the increase does not indicate any real trends that would cause UP to change its crime prevention methods.

“We never like to see an increase, we never like to see crime,” Klingebiel said. “But crime does happen. No new additional measures need to be taken to prevent them.”

Statistically, crime can also appear to increase if UP decides to step up its efforts in a certain sector or does so at the urging of the University community.

“If problems are identified, we respond and try to correct those problems,” Klingebiel said. The statistics are “a fluid bit of information,” he said. “It’s going to change over time. You have to look at spikes, but you have to take into account what causes these spikes. We can create a spike depending upon the enforcement needs at the time.”

UP decided to take on such efforts with its on-campus DUI checkpoint during Labor Day weekend.

“When we did encounter anyone who had alcohol in their system, they were passengers, so there were designated drivers being used,” Klingebiel said. “That is a success in the designated-driver program.”

Taking these types of proactive measures “starts with the individual, not the police department in that jurisdiction,” Klingebiel said.

UP does take efforts to help the USF community become savvy about being aware of crime and how to lessen or prevent it, such as printing its yearly campus safety guide.

“Getting this information into the hands of the community allows them to make good crime-prevention decisions,” Klingebiel said.

For certain crimes, such as physical assaults that have occurred earlier this year, “There’s really nothing other than (to) check your anger when it comes to this kind of physical violence,” he said.

Even though it may be tempting to let one’s guard down on campus, members of the USF community should not change their practices, such as locking car doors and taking valuables out of vehicles.

“It’s a standard message,” Klingebiel said. “The crime-prevention practices that people utilize off campus are the same ones they should be utilizing on campus.”