Twenty-one incidents of serious crime against persons were reported on the MIT campus in 1997, a 19 percent decrease from the previous year, according to statistics compiled by the Campus Police Department for its annual report.
The statistics for serious crimes on campus, with 1996 figures in parenthesis, are: rape, zero (three); robbery, one (two); aggravated assault, 11 (eight); simple assault, nine (13). Other crimes reported are burglaries 17 (18); hate incidents, one (four), and larcenies, 749 (704). No homicides were reported in either year.
Motor vehicle thefts dropped dramatically from 24 in 1996 to 12 in 1997. Bicycle thefts also fell from 143 to 115.
Campus police made 68 arrests during 1997, with the most serious charge being assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. There were four on-campus arrests for liquor violations, eight on drug charges and two for possession of a weapon.
Institute and residence-hall thefts increased in 1997 while personal property theft (non-residence) decreased. Computers and computer components were the items most frequently stolen.
The Campus Police compile two reports each year. The first, an annual report initiated in 1975, reports on all activities involving Campus Police. The second, mandated for institutions of higher learning in the federal crime reporting act, reports on six categories of serious crime defined by the FBI's Unified Crime Reporting (UCR) and arrests for alcohol infractions, drugs and weapons. This report is called the Safety, Security and Crimeï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Prevention Handbook for MIT. Published in September, it is available on line and in hard copy.
PAST OFF-CAMPUS INCIDENTS
In the course of preparing this year's annual report on campus crime, Campus Police determined they had not included incidents at off-campus fraternities and independent living groups from 1992-96 in the report required by federal law. The federal crime reporting categories are homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft. ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½
"The errors in the crime stats for our off-campus independent living groups are unfortunate," said Campus Police Chief Anne P. Glavin. "In reviewing these statistics and working with Boston police, we have learned that some of the data we received from Boston were erroneous. In other cases, we had the data and did not properly report them in our normal September federal crime report. It appears we were so intent on our own jurisdiction and UCR crime reporting that we failed to go back and recheck the off-campus statistics.
"The positive side of this review is that we now have a better line of communication with the Boston Police Department and have improved the procedures for obtaining accurate information."
When the error was discovered, Chief Glavin contacted the US Department of Education to seek advice on the acceptable procedure for correcting the errors. That department advised her to file an addendum to the federal 1997 report in September with the correct off-campus figures for 1992-96.
Off-campus crime for 1996 included one forcible rape, two robberies, one simple assault, six burglaries and three motor vehicle thefts. There were no reported homicides. Campus Police are reviewing and correcting off-campus crime statistics for 1992-95.
To assure future compliance with the federal requirements, Chief Glavin has asked the MIT Audit Division to oversee the Campus Police reports. She also has ordered a review of the procedures for receiving this information from the Boston and the Cambridge Police Departments. In addition, she will review the federal reporting requirements with the Campus Police staff responsible for gathering the statistics.
The 1997 campus crime report (including the revised off-campus figures for 1996) is on the Campus Police web page.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 18, 1998.