Institute property thefts dipped 36 percent in 1999, according to statistics compiled by the Campus Police Department for its annual report.
A total of 611 thefts of all types were reported on campus, compared to 469 in 1998.
The report divides larcenies into three major areas -- MIT property, personal property (non-residence), and residence hall thefts.
Institute property thefts dropped from 156 in 1998 to 89 reported in 1999. The total value of stolen items was estimated at $175,493. The items most frequently stolen continued to be computers and components.
Personal property thefts (non-residence) increased 69 percent, from 256 to 465 (441 were reported in 1997). The estimated cash value of the 1999 thefts of items such as wallets, laptops, backpacks and compact disc players was $204,082. Most of the stolen items were left unattended or in unlocked rooms.
Fifty-seven thefts from residence halls were reported, matching the 1998 number. Bicycles and electronic equipment were the most frequently stolen items. The loss was estimated at $29,659.
Larceny is the crime that Campus Police deal with most frequently. The number of campus larcenies dropped dramatically in 1998, with 469 reported, compared with 723 in 1997.
Campus Police Chief Anne P. Glavin urged the community to make sure doors are locked when rooms, offices and laboratories are vacant. "It does make a difference," she said.
Campus Police made 151 arrests in 1999 compared to 99 the previous year. "This, combined with our continuing community policing activity, has been very helpful in keeping crime incidents low or with marginal increases," Chief Glavin said.
A breakdown of serious crimes on campus last year, with 1998 figures in parentheses, follows.
Forcible sex offenses, four (six); robberies, one (none); aggravated assaults, one (two); simple assaults, 23 (22); burglaries 13 (31); motor vehicle theft, 13 (13); hate incidents, nine (one). The report also includes crimes reported off-campus and on public property. No homicides or nonforcible sex offenses were reported in either year. There were 121 bicycle thefts, compared with 99 the previous year.
The slight increase in serious crimes was "primarily due to the simple assaults committed by individuals within the community who were acquainted with one another," Chief Glavin said.
There were 27 liquor law violations on campus in 1999, 19 more than the previous year, and 19 drug-related violations (vs. one in 1998). All 27 alcohol violations were MIT citations; in 1998 the statistics included arrest of non-MIT affiliates as well as MIT citations.
Three weapons violations were reported, for knives and a hammer. Two non-affiliates were arrested.
The report included non-campus crimes at the Bates Linear Accelerator Center in Middleton and the Haystack Observatory in Westford. In 1999, 10 aggravated assaults, two burglaries and one alcohol violation were reported at these sites.
Statistics for fraternities, sororities and independent living groups are reported in both the on-campus and non-campus categories. Lincoln Laboratory issues its own crime report.
The most serious arrest by Campus Police was assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
The department responded to 26,739 calls for assistance during the year. In addition to reports of criminal activity, these included requests for emergency medical aid, escorts and lockouts.
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 by the Federal Crime Reporting Act, reports on six categories of serious crime defined by the FBI's Unified Crime Report plus arrests for alcohol infractions, drugs and weapons. This latest 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 1991 campus crime report is on the Campus Police web page.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 26, 2000.