The annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report was recently released by SF State University Police Department and it shows that theft and sexual crimes have risen on campus.
The report shows reported crime statistics for 2008-2010, which is divided by the following locations: campus, residential community, public property and non-campus property.
According to the report, SF State is a community comprised of more than 30,000 faculty, staff and students members. Currently the department is budgeted for a force of 38 officers. They have expanded their traffic enforcement program to the entire area adjacent to the campus with particular focus on the intersections at 19th and Holloway avenues and Font and Lake Merced boulevards, at the entrance to Lots 19 and 20.
A total of 31 reported robbery cases happened between 2008-2010 on campus and in the residence community. Yet, 28 of those cases happened in 2010 in the residence community.
There were 144 cases of burglary reported between 2008-2010 on campus and in the residence community, with 13 additional cases reported this semester. Most cases occurred in the late evening and targeted laptops.
Between 2008-2010 there were 44 cases of vehicle theft reported on campus and in the residence community. So far this semester there has been one reported case of vehicle theft, which occurred in the parking lot.
There were no reported cases of murder, manslaughter, sodomy, sexual assault with an object, sex offenses/non-forcible, incest or statutory rape for all three years and the 2008-2010 report does not include petty thefts.
This year alone there has been a total of 34 cases of petty theft that have been reported on campus and in the residential areas.
The majority of reported thefts have happened in the Student Center, SFSU Bookstore, the Humanities building and the Gymnasium.
Although many of the thefts reported happened at various times, the top three items stolen have been bicycles, laptops and backpacks.
According to Ismael de Guzman, prevention education specialist of the Men’s Program at S.A.F.E. Place, there is an obvious connection between the economy and crime.
“Whatever is happening in society is happening in our community. It’s a reflection of corporate greed taking over,” de Guzman said. “People ask themselves ‘What’s a fast way to make a buck?’ To steal from others.”
According to University spokeswoman Ellen Griffin there has been an increase in patrol officers from last year due to high area crimes.
“Theft is a campus-wide issue and UPD addresses the high target areas with extra patrols,” Griffin said. “Additionally, they provide information to the campus community with their Crime Prevention office on ways community members can keep themselves safe from theft and other crimes. They also urge community members to report all suspicious activity to the UPD.”
According to the campus crime statistics from 2010, six rape cases happened at SF State. Half of them happened on campus and the other half happened in residence community.
Between the years of 2008-2009, zero cases of rape were reported.
For the fall 2011 semester, two cases of sexual assault/rape were reported and one case of sexual battery, all in October.
“In regard to the recent allegations of sexual assault, UPD increased its presence and patrols in the campus residential community,” Griffin said. “The UPD also provided informational bulletins and information via the UPD Crime Prevention website on preventative measures that could be used by community members.”
According to Karla Castillo, a coordinator and intern at the S.A.F.E. Place, the crime log monitors crime on campus very differently.
“There are statistics that show that less than 5 percent of sexual crimes are actually reported,” Castillo said.
Based on a U.S. Department of Justice research report, it is estimated that the women at a college that has 10,000 female students could experience more than 350 rapes a year.
“Since we have a population of 30,000 students and 58 percent of them are women than according to that calculation we probably have more than 600 rapes a year,” Castillo said.
Despite many fliers, most students don’t seem to notice the crime alerts that are put up on the buildings and are not aware of the thefts that occur on campus.
“I actually haven’t noticed an increase in campus crime, or heard of any thefts through my friends,” said Nissa Poulsen, a 21-year-old cinema major. “I suppose I’m usually pretty aware of my belongings though anyways.”
It is not clear when the highest numbers of police are on duty, because according to Griffin, specifics on timing of patrols and locations are not shared publicly, since such information can aid potential criminals in planning their activities.
“I hardly ever notice campus security because I don’t see them too much,” said Natalie Woodward, an 18-year-old child development major.
The UPD was not able to comment on crime-related question because according to Griffin, “We do not have staff power to spare to meet the many requests we get for officer interviews.”