Data from Temple Police shows reported crimes are declining from the beginning of the academic year. Last year, crime peaked in October and dropped to its lowest in five months during the winter break.
Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said the trend is nothing unusual.
“October is a high crime month because it starts getting dark earlier,” he said. “And people are out because it’s not too cold yet.”
Leone added it’s “quieter after Thanksgiving” because the type of crime tends to change from alcohol citations to crimes of opportunity. These crimes can include pickpocketing and identity theft, and they increase during the holiday season because people are buying things and donating, he said.
Thefts, robberies and burglaries made up 37 percent of the 983 crimes reported between July 31, 2015 to Jan. 17. Many of these crimes occurred during weekdays. Twenty-one percent of all thefts, robberies and burglaries were stolen bikes, 8 percent were retail theft, 5 percent were thefts from cars and 3 percent were stolen autos.
The rest were unspecified thefts at 44 percent, robberies at 10 percent and burglaries at 9 percent.
“[Thefts happen] when people feel comfortable where they are, like the library or on a bench on Liacouras Walk,” Leone said. “They leave to go to the bathroom, print something or get up to talk to their friends and when they come back, someone has taken their phone or bag.”
He added there is an increase of situations where people plug phones into an outlet, leave for a period of time and find the phone is gone once they return.
“Sometimes we get lucky, and we do find some of it,” Leone said, adding apps like “Find my iPhone” help to find missing phones.
Leone said, however, that some people will sell the stolen phones or reacclimate them for their own use, severely lowering the chances of recovery.
Reports of burglary increased at the end of Thanksgiving and winter break with students returning to their homes or apartments to find their belongings had been stolen.
Leone said the mild weather during early January was a factor that increased the activity of going out. He previously told The Temple News several burglaries that happened during winter break could be related.
He added there has been an increased concentration on robberies, which has helped Temple Police reduce the total number. Leone said between 2014 and 2015, robberies have gone down 15 percent but arrests were “much higher.”
When students returned from winter break, alcohol and drug citations spiked during the long weekend. From August through January, alcohol and drug citations made up 28 percent of the total reported crimes and occurred most often on weekends.
The other most common crimes included harassment at 13 percent and assaults at 6 percent. The number of aggravated assault and sexual assault—both felonies—totaled at 15 and 16 incidents respectively.
Leone said sexual assault has decreased 30 percent after high numbers in 2013 and now lower numbers in 2015. He credited the initiative brought on by the sexual misconduct committee.
“We still have to do a lot more,” Leone said. “But we’re changing the culture, which is good for us as an institution.”
Julie Christie can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ChristieJules