by Kathleen Scalise
Violent crime was down 20 percent at Berkeley in 1995 but burglary, theft and other property crimes were up slightly, accounting for an overall increase of 3 percent in reported crime, according to a recently released report from the campus police.
The drop in violent crime comes on the heels of an 18 percent decline the prior year, said Capt. Pat Carroll.
"Violent crime on campus is substantially lower compared to large urban areas around the country," Carroll said.
In all, there were 36 violent crimes reported for the year, down from 45 in 1994 and 55 in 1993. There were no homicides. Aggravated assaults dropped to 10, 50 percent below the campus's five-year average.
The two rapes reported last year occurred off the main campus and involved women who were not students or otherwise affiliated with the campus. No attempted rapes were reported.
Robberies declined from 32 in 1994 to 24 last year. Burglary increased 29 percent while motor vehicle theft was down 19 percent and arson dropped 43 percent.
"Two of the reported robberies were 'carjackings,'" said the report. "A suspect was arrested in one of these cases. In the other incident, the suspects were unable to drive the manual shift vehicle and abandoned it at the scene."
The report also said juveniles were responsible for much of the violent crime reported. They were involved in 70 percent of such incidents on campus, an increase of 14 percent over 1994.
"This may be a reflection of the increase in juvenile-related crime being experienced nationwide," said the report.
Carroll noted that these statistics cover "Part I" crimes, more serious offenses that are likely to be reported to police and are listed by the FBI crime index. Totals include incidents on all land owned by the university, including the central campus, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, the surrounding hill area and other areas off the central campus.
Violent crime decreased in part because of crime prevention presentations hosted by the campus for sororities, fraternities, campus living groups and employees as well as efforts by the department to increase visibility of police officers, said Carroll.
"More officers were put on the streets by consolidating office positions and moving some functions into civilian jobs, and the highly effective bicycle patrol unit was increased," he said.
"In cooperation with other campus departments, the police department also developed a special unit to respond to potential workplace violence and incidents involving threatening behavior."
Suspicious packages were another focus last year. The campus bomb unit responded to 182 calls for service, 33 percent from the campus and the rest from the surrounding community.
As for the increase in property crime, stolen laptop computers and computer chips edged up totals. Laptops were a popular target of theft in 1995, said the report, because of their "portability, easy concealment and lack of security devices."
And in one incident involving computer chips, more than $7,000 worth were stolen from 28 computers, though they were subsequently recovered.
As always, bike theft was common. Though the theft rate was down 16 percent, still 440 bicycles were stolen, adding up to more than $130,000 in lost merchandise. Fewer than 1 percent of these bikes were recovered.