Tech’s crime rate remains relatively low as state’s rate rises

Tech’s number of reported crimes has remained relatively unchanged as the rest of the state’s rate rose more than nine percent.Tech, which traditional has a low reported crime rate, didn’t see much of a change in the number of crimes on campus in a recently released Tennessee Board of Investigation Crime Statistics report-only about an increase of one percent.

According to the report, larceny/theft offenses continued to be the largest number of reported crimes at all universities, with an increase of 38.5 percent. That held true at Tech, where about 45 percent of the reported crimes were larceny/theft.

“We face what other campuses are facing with growing enrollment and tougher economic times,” said Gay Shepherd, chief of police. “The types of crimes that are increasing reflect the challenge of serving more people with the same resources and personnel.”

The only significant increase was burglary, up to 24 from 16 in 2008. One incident of robbery was reported and was cleared.

Seven liquor law violations were reported.

TBI reports that sex offenses, specifically rape, were on the rise on campuses across the state. Five more reports were filed in 2009, but that figure didn’t hold true at Tech. No sex offenses were reported. The same is true of homicide offenses.

As reported at the beginning of the semester, vandalism has been a growing problem on campus. TBI reports 27 incidents of destruction/damage/vandalism. A small portion of those offenses, five, were cleared.

Over the past year, Tech police have been strategically placing security camera all over campus, which has helped identify those committing the crimes.

Shepherd said the clearance rate of crimes has increased from about three percent to nearly 19 percent, a number she believes is result of continued crime prevention education efforts on campus.

Campus is patrolled 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Officers also join students, faculty, administrators and staff in annual safety walks outlining safe areas around campus. Emergency phones are strategically placed all over campus for anyone to use and have a direct connection to the police station.

Annual crime statistics, comparative crime rates and daily crime logs are maintained on the police station’s website at http://www.tntech.edu/police/. TBI’s full report, including statistics from each individual institution in Tennessee can be found at http://www.tbi.tn.gov/tn_crime_stats/stats_analys.shtml.