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Thefts dropped greatly in '98, Campus Police report says

Larceny, the crime MIT Campus Police deal with most frequently, dropped dramatically on campus in 1998, according to statistics compiled by the Campus Police Department for its annual report. A total of 469 larcenies were reported on campus, compared with 723 in 1997.

"I am very pleased to see some impact in the decreased larceny figures due to our community policing program," said Campus Police Chief Anne P. Glavin. "We have specifically targeted several areas on campus over the last year through the program. This has involved more community education, increased police visibility during off hours and greater community input in partnership with Campus Police on some long-term problems."

A breakdown of serious crimes on campus last year, with 1997 figures in parentheses, follows.

Forcible sex offenses, six (three); robberies, none (one); aggravated assaults, two (11); simple assaults, 22 (eight); burglaries 31 (18); hate incidents, none (one). The report also includes crimes reported off campus and on public property.

No homicides or nonforcible sex offenses were reported in either year. Thirteen motor vehicle thefts were reported in both years. Bicycle thefts fell from 115 in 1997 to 99.

Larcenies were divided into three major areas in the report -- MIT property, personal property (nonresidence) and residence hall thefts. Institute property thefts dipped 20 percent, with 156 reported (compared with 196 the previous year). The total value of stolen items was estimated at $200,030. The items most frequently stolen were computers and computer components.

Personal property thefts (nonresidence) dropped 41 percent, from 441 to 256. The estimated cash value was $92,104. Wallets, backpacks, laptops and CD players were stolen most frequently.

Fifty-seven residence hall thefts were reported -- a 49 percent decrease compared to 1997. Bicycles and computer equipment were the most popular items. The loss was estimated at $51,124.

The report included noncampus crimes at the Bates Linear Accelerator Center in Middleton and the Haystack Observatory in Westford. In 1998, one aggravated assault, seven burglaries, one alcohol violation and one weapons possession were reported at these sites. Statistics for fraternities, sororities and independent living groups are reported in both the on-campus and noncampus categories. Lincoln Laboratory issues its own crime report.

Campus Police made 70 arrests during 1998, the most serious for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

The department compiles 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 by the Federal Crime Reporting Act, reports on six categories of serious crime defined by the FBI's Unified Crime Reporting and arrests for alcohol infractions, drugs and weapons. This report is called the Safety, Security and Crime Prevention Handbook for MIT. Published in September, it is available on line and in hard copy.

The 1998 campus crime report is on the Campus Police web page at

A version of this article appeared in the July 14, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 44, Number 1).

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