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Photo courtesy of: Ohio University Police Department

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Campus crime statistics stay consistent during past year

The Ohio University Police Department has released the 2011 campus crime statistics and in comparison to last year's statistics, there are few changes in numbers.

"Really and truly, if you look at our numbers across the board, they have remained pretty consistent," said Ohio University Chief of Police Andrew Powers.

While numbers are mostly consistent, there has been a steady decrease in burglaries and thefts over the past two years. Powers noted that the number of burglaries decreased significantly from 68 burglaries in 2009 to 21 in 2011.

"I would credit that to our students, faculty, staff members, and community members who are probably doing a better job of keeping control of their property by not leaving doors open and unlocked and not leaving things lying around unattended," said Powers. "That's an encouraging drop in numbers."

Consistencies lie in the categories of sex offenses and liquor law arrests. The total number of sex offenses were reduced to eight in 2011 after numbering 12 in 2010. Liquor law arrests were slightly reduced in 2011.

"We are right about where we would normally be for those," said Powers.

Drug law arrests took a huge jump in 2010 going from 55 to 131. In 2011 the number of drug law arrests decreased by 10. Powers noted that shift in numbers.

"We began to change some things that we were doing operationally to better enforce the drug laws. 2009 was when we had the student who died after he fell out of the window while he was under the influence of mushrooms. So we really prioritized drug enforcement and that's why I think we are seeing more arrests." said Powers.

Powers noted that an increase or decrease in numbers doesn't necessarily mean that there is more or less crime happening. There are a variety of factors that are involved.

"The important things to stress are the same crime prevention ideas that we share on a regular basis," said Powers.

That includes things like securing belongings, and making responsible choices in the consumption of alcohol.

"The most common crime that a student is most likely to become a victim of is theft. I don't care if our thefts dropped to 0. I'd still say, 'this doesn't mean that all the thieves have decided not to come to OU and it's okay to leave things lying around,' I would say you're doing a good job of not leaving things around, let's keep it up."

While Powers doesn't see the statistics as vehicles for changing behavior, he attributes a different significance to them.

"They are a useful comparison to show how our University compares to other universities' crimes and we typically compare pretty favorably," said Powers.

The listing of the 2009-11 crime statistics satisfies the requirements of the Clery Act, a federal law requiring all federally supported college campuses to annually report their latest crime statistics to the U.S. Department of Education and the public by Oct. 1.