Thursday, April 30, 2015

[371] MTSU sees year-over-year drops in major crime categories in 2014

TBI releases latest crime on campus statistics

For 2014, MTSU reported no homicides, two sex offenses and four robberies, as well as noticeable drops in reported thefts, aggravated assaults, vandalisms and liquor law violations.

MTSU continues to stress community-policing efforts that take a comprehensive approach to crime prevention for a campus of 22,000-plus people.

“The improved overall crime stats are an indication of the effort put forth by the entire campus community,” said Buddy Peaster, chief of the MTSU Police Department. “The people on our campus, including our administrators, make the difference.”

The TBI released the 2014 campus crime statistics Monday, March 23, as part of its annual reporting on college campuses across the state. The TBI’s full 2014 “Crime on Campus” report, along with similar studies dating back to 2001, is available online for review at

At MTSU, reported sexual offenses dropped from seven in 2013 to two last year as the university continues its awareness efforts to combat sexual violence on campus and held a number of events last year focused on the issue.

Meanwhile, aggravated assaults dropped almost in half from nine to four, while simple assaults dropped 45 percent from 2013, the TBI report shows. There were four robberies in 2014, up from two the previous year.

MTSU’s overall crime rate in 2014 is comparable to other Tennessee Board of Regents campuses, though Peaster again noted that comparisons must account for factors such as the surrounding neighborhoods and the number of dorms on a particular campus.

Here’s a summary of decreases in several crime categories for 2014 with the percent decrease from 2013 in parentheses:

• Liquor law violations — 15 (down 63 percent)
• Weapon law violations — 3 (down 25 percent)
• Theft/larceny — 148 (down 13 percent)
• Vandalisms — 56 (down 19 percent)
• Assaults — 51 (down 41 percent)

Theft still remains the top crime, although thefts from campus buildings dropped 16 percent between 2013 and 2014.

Meanwhile, the crime report showed incidents of both DUI and drunkenness experiencing 66 percent drops.

Campus police officials caution against reading too much into a single year of statistics. The office looks at trends over time to gauge whether prevention and enforcement efforts are effective in keeping students, faculty and staff safer.

Reducing crime involves a combination of enforcement activities and changes in student behavior as well as preventive actions, such as improved lighting across campus, increased police foot patrols and public awareness campaigns through Student Health Services and MTSU Housing and Residential Life.

Housing security measures include around-the-clock front desk coverage in dormitories, card-swipe access systems and locked entry doors.

The MTSU Health Services and Health Promotion office educates students on risk reduction techniques for substance use and violence prevention. The office also offers wellness programs and other courses around topics such as alcohol, drugs and sexual responsibility, which provide health information to students as well as information on the campus resources available to them.

The MTSU Police Department currently employs 36 full-time police officers, five full-time dispatchers and about 20 part-time student workers. It operates around the clock to protect the 500-plus-acre university campus.

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