TBI report shows low crime rates at Tech with few violent offenses

The Crime on Campus report for 2010, released last week by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, shows low numbers for Tennessee Tech. And that’s a good thing, according to Gay Shepherd, Tech police chief.”We’re pretty much right on target, historically,” she said. “I think what we do really well is staying in touch with our students, and not just showing up when something happens.

“We get out there and mingle, and they’re more likely to tell us stuff,” she said. “We’re not strangers.”

Tech earned pleasant zeros in the categories of homicide, arson, motor vehicle theft, non-forcible sex offenses, prostitution and others.

Some of the higher numbers included larceny (64), destruction/vandalism (37), burglary (25), narcotic violations (24), assault (22), and disorderly conduct (21). Shepherd said those aren’t crimes that anyone should be especially worried about, all things considered.

Crimes on Tech campuses least likely to “clear” include larceny, burglary and vandalism. According to the TBI report, only three of the 64 reported larceny offenses cleared. When a crime “clears,” it means the offender has been arrested, charged with the commission of the offense and turned over to a court or judicial body for prosecution.

“Theft crimes are difficult,” Shepherd said. “The likelihood of clearance depends heavily on the timeliness and accuracy of a crime’s reporting, especially when it comes to stolen property offenses.”

The two counts of kidnapping and one count of forcible rape on Tech’s chart not being cleared are explainable, according to Shepherd.

“The two kidnapping victims refused to prosecute,” she said. “We were able to find the kidnappers, but [the victims] didn’t want anything to do with it.”

The female who reported being raped also refused to prosecute or undergo medical tests.

“At least she reported it, though,” Shepherd said.

Across the state, the total number of crimes reported on college campuses dropped about five percent from 2009 to 2010, totaling about 7,000 last year. Heavy hitters on the list were larceny, vandalism, drug violations and assault.

Statewide trends, for the most part, mirror those seen on Tech’s campus.

Here are some mental notes you might take based on the report’s findings:

Keep a steady eye on your belongings (purses, computers, bicycles etc.) in the middle of the day. The largest percentage of theft incidents occurred between noon and 3 p.m.

The single hottest item on the larceny market these days is computer hardware/software, accounting for 707 of the almost 5,000 items stolen across the state last year.

If you think you hear footsteps behind you, it’s probably nothing. Tech received exactly zero reports of stalking last year, and not a single college in the entire state recorded any “Peeping Toms.”

Be careful who you date and spend time with. Of last year’s 340 simple assaults committed on Tennessee campuses, 205 were committed by boyfriends/girlfriends of the victim, acquaintances or people “otherwise known.”

If you are assaulted-heaven forbid-it will most likely be with a knife or no weapon at all, so don’t discredit pepper spray just yet.

The report for all campuses in the state can be found at www.theleafchronicle.com/assets/pdf/DA172360330.PDF.