Rise in campus crime defies state trend

Scott Gordon

In 2003, Illinois’ state crime rate continued the sharp decline it began in 1994, and Cook County’s crime index dropped by 4.9 percent, but violent and property crimes on Northwestern’s Evanston Campus jumped 15 percent, according to a report released Sunday by the Illinois State Police Department.

The department’s annual crime statistics report states that the crime index — the sum of all incidents of murder, arson, sexual assault, robbery, battery and theft — on campus went from 280 in 2002 to 322 in 2003. The bulk of the increase occurred in burglaries and thefts. There were 50 burglaries on campus in 2003, up from 21 in 2002. Thefts increased from 244 to 255.

Criminal sexual assaults, batteries and robberies also increased, but by smaller amounts. Robberies went up from 2 to 6 — primarily due to an unusual series of attacks against students on and near campus in Fall Quarter. These incidents prompted University Police to supplement patrols with security guards on foot and in golf carts during most of the 2003-2004 academic year.

The university also responded to the attacks by allowing UP to hire more patrol officers.

“We really hope that those increases in staffing are going to help us have a better year next year,” said Assistant Chief Daniel McAleer of UP. Robberies and batteries against students occurred less often after UP and university officials added security officers and improved lighting on certain areas of campus.

Motor vehicle theft and arson decreased from already relatively low numbers, and no murders were reported for either year.

The crime index on NU’s Chicago Campus — already much lower than that on the Evanston Campus — decreased 17.4 percent in 2003. Nearly all crimes the report accounts for on the Chicago Campus were thefts, which decreased from 114 to 94. No murders, sexual assaults, batteries, motor vehicle thefts or arson incidents were reported in either year. Robberies went from 1 to 0 and burglaries went from 0 to 1.

Total incidents of all crime index offenses decreased in Cook County and Illinois, the report stated. The total state crime index decreased from 519,192 in 2002 to 497,693 in 2003. Cook County’s crime index fell from 283,528 to 269,640.

Crime Index 2002/2003; Change

State of Illinois: 519,192/497,693; -4.1%

Cook County: 283,528/269,640; -4.9%

NU Evanston Campus: 280/322; +15%

NU Chicago Campus: 115/95; -17.4%

Evanston Campus crimes 2002/2003

Burglary: 21/50; +138%

Theft: 244/255; +4.5%

Robbery: 2/6; +200%

Criminal Sexual Assault: 1/4; +300%

Aggravated Assault/Battery: 2/3; +50%

SOURCE: Illinois State Police Department

City Editor Scott Gordon is a Medill junior. He can be reached at [email protected]