Police find crime rates decreased during ’08

By Rachel Rubin

The Champaign Police Department observed an overall decline in serious crime during 2008 in their crime comparison report, released last week.

Gary Spear, Crime Analysis Unit supervisor, said the report shows the department is taking appropriate steps, so there are no reasons to change anything now.

“The things we are doing must be accomplishing something,” Spear said. “We feel like we’re moving in the right direction.”

The report, calculated annually, showed a decrease in first-degree murder, criminal sexual assault and robbery since 2007.

There were, however, increases in aggravated battery, aggravated domestic battery and residential burglary.

Spear says that burglary is a hard crime to control.

“Generally speaking, an officer driving down the street does not have a big impact on whether or not someone gets robbed or not,” he said.

Still, students can enjoy the 66.7 percent decrease in vehicle hijacking while on campus.

“I feel safe on campus. I obviously know not to go out and walk by myself at night,” said Lindsey Hartje, junior in Business.

Despite the economic slump that may suggest higher crime rates, Spear said that money is not the only thing that causes deviance.

“There are other factors like drugs that affect crime a lot more than the economy,” Spear said. “It doesn’t mean the majority of people who lose their job are going to resort to a life of crime.”