Skip to content ↓

Thefts down, arrests up on campus

Larcenies--the crime committed most frequently at colleges across the country--dropped dramatically on the MIT campus in 1996, according to the annual report of the Campus Police. The report is scheduled to be available on line today (March 12) at <>.

Reported thefts of personal property on campus and in residence halls dipped sharply, from 889 in 1995 to 543 in '96. This includes a 269 percent reduction in reports of thefts from residence halls, from 183 to 68. Reports of stolen Institute property also dropped, from 216 in 1995 to 161 last year.

Anne P. Glavin, chief of Campus Police, noted that the Crime Prevention Unit's series of seminars and its work with departments' crime prevention coordinators may have made the MIT community more diligent about precautionary measures, thus reducing the temptation and the opportunities for petty thieves. Additionally, improving building and office access control around the Institute with card readers and other measures contributes to tightened security.

Chief Glavin also believes that an increase in arrests--from 73 to 101--may have played a role in the reduction by removing potential thieves and perhaps scaring off others. Thirty-eight of the arrests resulted in convictions or guilty pleas and 29 cases are still pending.

Chief Glavin noted that reported bicycle thefts dropped 39 percent, from 227 in 1995 to 143 in 1996, partly due to the institution of a plainclothes patrol designed specifically to combat this problem. The special patrol arrested a number of bicycle thieves during the late summer and early fall.

There were only eight reported incidents of aggravated assault in 1996, compared to 17 a year earlier. Simple assaults rose from five to 13. The victim is injured during an aggravated assault; in a simple assault, he or she is threatened but not harmed. The assailants and victims were members of the MIT community and outsiders.

Other statistics in the report:

  • Three rapes were reported during 1996, one that happened in 1993 and another in 1995. Before 1996, the last previous report of rape was in 1993. Reports of hate crimes or incidents dropped to four, compared to nine in 1995. Of the four, two were for sexual orientation and two were against race and ethnic origin.
  • Two robberies were reported in 1996 compared to three the previous year.
  • Reported car thefts rose to 24 from 19 in 1995. There were 67 motor vehicle accidents on campus last year.
  • Property stolen on campus and in residences was valued at more than $500,000. Computers and computer components were the most frequently stolen MIT property. Wallets, backpacks, compact disc players, cash, bicycles and camera equipment were the personal items most popular with thieves.

The Institute lost $220,420 in stolen property, almost $100,000 less than the previous year's $320,668. Non-residence personal thefts amounted to $261,089 in 1996 compared to $165,895 the previous year, despite the fact that 231 fewer incidents were reported. More expensive items were reported stolen last year, Chief Glavin said. Residence hall thefts were valued at $40,669 compared to $63,039 in 1995.

The department received 29 letters of thanks for excellent police work or service by an officer, written by members of the MIT community and visitors.

The department issued letters of commendation to eight officers: Patrolmen John Murray, Kevin O'Connor, Michael Carey, Bennett Chin, Thomas Hennessey, Clarence Henniger, Frank Kane and Richard Sullivan. In addition, Officers Jau Perault and Mary Beth Riley were commended by Chief Glavin for their work with the Rape Aggression Defense program.

Detective David Bruce received an award from the Massachusetts Association of College and University Public Safety Directors for creating the MIT Campus Police home page.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 12, 1997.

Related Topics

More MIT News