SDSUPD reports burglaries, robberies up in 2016, other types of crime down

by Gustavo Cristobal, Staff Writer

The San Diego State University Police Department reported crime has dropped in many categories, but rose in two important areas last year.

Robberies and burglaries increased in 2016, after dropping between 2014 and 2015.

There were seven reported robberies in 2014, five in 2015 to 14 in 2016. Burglaries went from 91 reported instances in 2014, to 45 in 2015 and 60 in 2016.

Rape went down from 29 reported cases in 2015 to seven reported cases in 2017. Fondling also saw a decline from 18 in 2015 to three in 2016. These statistics, which include both locations on-campus and student organizations off-campus, can be found in the 2014-2016 Safety and Security report released by university police.

SDSUPD Cpl. Mark Peterson said in an email most burglaries at SDSU occur to parked cars and unattended office spaces.

“A criminal is less likely to identify a vehicle or office to burglarize if nothing valuable can be seen and if the vehicle or office is properly secured (locked windows and doors),” Peterson said.

Since the beginning of the Fall 2017 semester, there have been three community safety alerts emailed to the SDSU community about crime on or near campus.

Athletic training junior Ari Luna said he sees crime as more of a concern this semester compared to previous years.

“It’s worrying,” Luna said. “I’ve already had friends who had their cars broken into and it’s crazy.”

Luna said he is usually on campus throughout the entire day and leaves very late at night. “I know my way around and I’m always looking around to see what’s happening,” he said. “I’m worried for other people (who) can’t defend themselves.”

Peterson said that in most circumstances, it is difficult to identify a single, specific reason for changes in crime trends.  SDSUPD utilizes a number of programs to help keep the campus community safe, he said.

“When we recognize multiple crimes are occurring in an area of campus over a length of time, we develop solutions based on the types of crime,” Peterson said. “Some of these solutions may involve security assessments and increased patrols.”

Psychology sophomore Paulina Aguiniga said she is not particularly concerned about her safety because she is usually around campus during the day.

“I get emails, but I’m not too aware of what’s going on around campus. I feel like it’s been the same since I started coming here,” Aguiniga said. “I feel like most of these things happen later on during the day so at night.”

Anthropology junior Joecell Agamanta said she is worried about students who are on campus during late-night hours.

“It’s disheartening, of course, because people are trying to walk on campus thinking the campus is safe, but we see people trying to mob us or trying to steal something,” Agamanta said. “It’s putting us in danger and it’s making us [question] if we should even take night classes.”

University police said services such as personal safety escorts and the library shuttles are available for students who are worried about crime on campus.

Peterson said police have seen an increase in use of the safety escort program. The free program is available to all members of the campus community, including students, faculty, staff and visitors.

Members of the campus community are encouraged to let the police department know if there are locations that may be unsafe, Peterson said. University police can then evaluate the area is and identify possible solutions.

Officers also regularly conduct security checks and foot patrols at campus facilities, Peterson said.