by Julia Sommer
Both violent crime and property crimes on the campus fell last year to the lowest levels in 10 years, according to a recently released report from the campus police department.
Violent crime in 1996 decreased for the third consecutive year, dropping by 31 percent compared to 1995, while reported property crimes fell by 11 percent for the same period. Total reported FBI Index crimes decreased by 11 percent.
Capt. Pat Carroll attributes the decline to three factors: the nationwide drop in crime, increased community-involved policing and a strong campus commitment to public safety.
"We have more foot and bike patrols now, and the building watch program has reduced property crimes," he said.
For the second year in a row there were no homicides. Two rapes were reported, the same as last year. One occurred in the city, with campus police handling the investigation; the other involved acquaintances. No attempted rapes were reported. Aggravated assaults decreased from 10 in 1995 to eight in 1996, with three occurring on the central campus. Three students and two campus employees were victims.
Robberies declined from 24 to 15. Four students were victims, down from 12 the year before. One robbery involved a carjacking, down from two last year.
In all, seven students reported being the victims of violent crimes in 1996, compared to 15 in 1995.
Juveniles accounted for one-third of all violent crime arrests, compared to 70 percent in 1995. (Several robbery arrests in 1995 involved juvenile "rat packs," resulting in mulitple arrests for one offense. There was a decline in this type of robbery in 1996.)
Burglary decreased by 30 percent compared to 1995, bicycle thefts by 29 percent and larcenies by nine percent. Vehicle thefts decreased by 24 percent in 1996, while reported arsons dropped from four to three. Vandalism fell by 15 percent.
In response to an increase in campus concerns regarding "threatening behavior and situations of potential workplace violence," a sergeant has been assigned full-time to "threat management," says the police report.
Arrests related to campus protests dropped from 52 to 23 -- all the result of a protest against the passage of Proposition 209.
The UCPD Bomb Unit responded to 117 calls -- about half from the university -- disarming 281 explosive items. Marin County has been added to its response area.
Campus police working with the city in joint task forces have reduced street robberies and also cut alcohol-related crime in People's Park.