The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

Summer sees decline in on-campus crimes, police say

OMN Creative Team

With many students off-campus for the summer, Oregon State University’s Department of Public Safety say they have seen a decrease in the number of crimes reported.

Around 35,000 students were enrolled at OSU for the 2022-23 school year, making it the largest university in the state and it has been for the last nine consecutive years. The number of students on campus reflects the amount of campus activity and crime. During the school year, campus crime is higher than during the summer hiatus, when most students go back to their hometowns.

Crimes are still present during the summer months, but the number of reported crimes has decreased.

“The volume of (crimes) goes down in the summer months, but they are still present,” said Lieutenant James Yon of the OSU DPS. “What changes is the individual who is committing these crimes. During the school year, we have a larger portion of them (that) are committed by the students.”

While the DPS may have a more visible presence over the summer, Yon said this is because more officers have more free time to perform patrols.

There was a 10.2% decrease in reported crimes in June compared to March, according to the public safety dashboard on their website. The dashboard is updated on the 15th of each month.

“We mostly deal with three types of crimes: trespass, criminal mischief and theft,” Yon said.

This year, there were 179 trespassing crimes, 158 vandalism crimes and 102 crimes for theft and larceny. An additional 61 crimes involve theft from a building, 71 bicycle theft crimes and 61 crimes for stealing recyclable materials, according to OSU public safety data. With data from January to July, there have been a total of 1139 crimes.

73.11% of crimes that OSU public safety responded to are committed on campus, 16.77% are on student housing sites, 6.15% are on public property and 3.86% are committed off campus.

However, since students left campus for the summer, fewer crimes have been committed.

“This is an interesting one that goes against most law enforcement agencies,” Yon said. “The summer is when most agencies are the busiest and winter is a slower time of year. We are just the opposite. The summer is when we are slower because most students and faculty are not on campus. We don’t have any events through athletics. We are busy from move-in until the end of commencement.”

During the academic year, most trespassing incidents occur at athletic events. Theft increases due to students and faculty bringing bicycles, computers and other items to campus. These types of crimes come primarily from students, but some are local residents that come onto campus and commit these throughout the year, regardless of summer.

March 25 marks the highest amount of calls for crimes committed this year, according to DPS data, with 89 calls.

Most of OSU’s crimes relate to property or society incidents, rarely person crimes. Crimes against persons include crimes such as murder, rape and assault. In the U.S., rapes on college campuses are one of the top three most common reported crimes, along with burglaries and motor vehicle thefts.

“We are always concerned about the physical safety of our OSU Community. This is a topic that is discussed all the time and we are always looking for ways to improve,” Yon said. “You will see in our data that person crimes are very low.”

Rape and other person crimes are 4.65% of all reported on-campus crimes at OSU, according to DPS data. Property crimes, like robbery, burglary and bribery are most common with 55.84% of all reported crimes. Society crimes make up 39.51%, and these crime types can include gambling, prostitution, and drug violations.

“We work and live in a very safe community,” Yon said. “I would feel safe walking with my family on any part of this campus at any time of the day.”

Yon said OSU’s Department of Public Safety is always up to date as they continuously exchange information with all law enforcement partners. The department is also working with the START program to educate incoming students and their families about college safety.

“The summer is the planning season for us. We are getting ready for all the athletic events, move-in day, convocation and all the other events that are happening this next school year.  We look at each one individually and figure what resources we are going to need to accomplish our goal of keeping our community safe.”

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