The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday May 19th

University's Crime Rates Down in 2001

The University's 2001 Security Report indicates that arrests on campus are down significantly and that resources for safety information are more readily available.

All institutions of higher education are required to post crime statistics and preventative safety measures online Oct. 1 or they will lose federal funding. The requirement falls under the Campus Security Act of 1990, which is aimed at increasing safety on campuses nationwide.

The University's report, available at http://main.

psafety.unc.edu/securityreport, outlines 1998, 1999 and 2000 crime statistics for campus and the surrounding area, and the preventative security measures taken and educational programs offered on campus.

The crimes reported on campus in 2000 included one robbery, two arson incidents, 10 sex offenses, 12 aggravated assaults, 31 breaking and entering charges and 22 counts of vehicle theft.

The 2000 statistics are relatively consistent with statistics from recent years. But arrests for liquor law violations did show a significant change, falling from 22 in 1999 to two in 2000. Drug-related arrests also decreased, dropping from 24 in 1999 to eight in 2000.

"I think the drop could be attributed to ... a better understanding of the alcohol policy and the success of nonalcoholic events, like Fall Fest," said Jeff McCracken, deputy director of the DPS.

One hate crime was reported on campus in 2000, which the report states is included under the category of aggravated assaults, but DPS officials said it was an isolated incident.

DPS officials said the fact that crime rates remained constant demonstrates the effectiveness of existing safety measures such as the Point-2-Point service, emergency call boxes, extensive building security and sufficient lighting on campus -- safety measures detailed in the report.

Also, new emphasis was placed on improved communications with students, McCracken said. The Pedestrian Safety Committee, chaired by University Police Chief Derek Poarch, focuses on construction of new traffic islands and signs that warn drivers about pedestrians.

DPS officials also created a Web site that includes a new feature, the "Silent Witness," which allows students to report crimes anonymously.

McCracken said campus security has improved since Poarch took the department's helm in 1998. "In general, the campus is a secure place, but it is reflective of society, and so it is obviously not immune to crime."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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