UCPD annual crime report shows increase in sexual offenses, decrease in burglaries

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UCPD announced the release of its annual campus crime statistics report Friday, showing an increase in the number of sexual offenses reported on campus in 2011 and a significant decrease in the number of reported burglaries.

The UC Berkeley Campus Annual Security report, a compilation of crime statistics and safety guidelines, is published annually in accordance with the Clery Act, a statute requiring any university receiving federal aid to provide a statistical review on crime conducted on university property.

The annual report covers crime from various categories, including campus property, campus housing, public property adjacent to campus, noncampus buildings including fraternities, sororities, co-ops and the University Village Albany and “The Box.” The area encompassed by “The Box” surrounds the campus and is bound by Shattuck Avenue to the west, Prospect Street to the east, Dwight Way to the south and Virginia Street to the north.

Within campus property, which includes any building owned or controlled by UC Berkeley or within the same contiguous geographical area, UCPD saw a stark rise in the number of sexual offenses reported last year, jumping from four in 2010 to 24 in 2011, according to the report.

In April 2011, former University Health Services doctor Robert Kevess was charged with 19 counts of sex crimes against former patients. Tejada said these charges account for the increased number of offenses.

Still, multiple incidents of sexual offenses not related to those allegations were also reported. In April 2011, two instances of sexual battery and one incident of sexual assault were reported near West Gate on campus in a week.

Christine Ambrosio, director of women’s resources at the Gender Equity Resource Center, helps victims after an attack. She speculated that rising numbers of sexual offenses could in part be related to more accessible methods for reporting.

“My numbers have been the same, but I have seen an increase of folks coming in for people who are friends,” Ambrosio said. “That may be why more people are coming forward, because we’ve made a specific effort on educating people.”

Ambrosio said the Gender Equity Resource Center, UCPD and the UHS Tang Center all collaborate to prevent future crime and to counsel past victims.

“We all kind of share pieces of the puzzle,” Ambrosio said. “Each of us has a role in terms of preventing violence, and we communicate with each other on any ways to support students.”

Similar collaborations include safety measures like EmpowerU, a UC program that began last year and aims to develop educational programs that address sexual offenses. According to UCPD’s Safety Counts website, UCPD has also partnered with the Gender Equity Resource Center to implement the CalRad program, which emphasizes self-defense training for women.

According to the annual report, the number of bike thefts in the campus category has increased from 182 incidents in 2010 to 236 in 2011. Other miscellaneous items stolen in the campus category, like laptops, purses and cellphones, have gone up from 437 in 2010 to 585 in 2011.

“We’ve definitely increased patrols in the area of south campus, due to the increase of theft reported,” said UCPD Lt. Eric Tejada.

On the other hand, the number of burglaries reported has decreased, dropping from 46 to 25 in the noncampus category and 63 to 40 in the campus category from 2010 to 2011.

Tejada said a factor contributing to this trend could be UCPD’s heightened alcohol enforcement, adding that alcohol is a huge factor in criminal activity, especially in sexual offenses.

“We’ve done our own patrols in response, and we’ve stepped up on campus patrols and vehicles on campus,” said Tejada. “We’re trying to bulk our forces back up to effectively combat crime.”

Contact Virgie Hoban at [email protected]