Crime is down on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus, and UT police say it’s because of improved departmental procedures and increased community support.
In 2008, UT Knoxville saw a decrease of 43 percent in reported crimes against person and a 29 percent decrease in property crimes.
Incidents of reported crime on other college campuses across the state have decreased as well, according to a recent report on campus crime released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
“Community support and involvement are critical to any police department’s success,” said UTPD Chief August Washington. “Our overall efforts are geared toward fostering a positive community relationship. When people are involved with their police department, crime should decrease.”
UTPD works with student organizations and area home associations, such as the Student Government Association, Historic Fort Sanders Neighborhood Association and Cumberland Avenue Merchants Association, to increase safety awareness in and around campus.
In 2008, UT Knoxville also saw a 50 percent reduction in thefts from buildings, a 45 percent reduction in thefts from vehicles and a 23 percent reduction in all other larcenies, according to UTPD Capt. Keith Lambert.
According to the TBI’s report, the vast majority of arrests on the Knoxville campus were related to alcohol or illegal drugs. There were 55 drug violations, 61 DUIs, 133 cases of drunkenness and 144 liquor law violations. There were also 12 misdemeanor assaults, two instances of intimidation, two arsons and five burglaries, according to the report.
“We saw a significant decrease in car break-ins and in thefts in general because of the educational and risk-reduction programming we provide, increased community outreach and an improved working relationship with the UT community,” Lambert.
UTPD offers a variety of crime prevention programs and risk-reduction services, such as self-defense classes, sexual-assault awareness education and neighborhood watch programming.
UTPD also provides theft prevention information and will register and engrave personal property for free. Such actions make it easer to find and retrieve lost or stolen property. For more information on these programs, visit http://web.utk.edu/~utpolice/Services.html.
UTPD is also progressing toward law enforcement accreditation. CALEA, or the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, is the primary method for an agency to voluntarily demonstrate its commitment to excellence in college law enforcement.
In 2008, UT Knoxville had a student population of more than 26,000, making it the largest university in Tennessee. The next largest institutions in the state include Middle Tennessee State University, the University of Memphis and Vanderbilt University, respectively.
UT Knoxville has made several enhancements across campus, including lighting improvements and security camera installation. Other ongoing initiatives to enhance safety include new emergency “blue light” phones and the UT ALERT emergency notification system.
The university is now in the middle of an upgrade to its emergency blue light phones system. More than 100 blue light phones are located throughout the Knoxville campus and all will be replaced within the next two years. Phones along the 16th Street corridor and near the new Haslam Business Building already have been updated.
The university implemented in 2007 UT ALERT, a comprehensive emergency notification system that includes text message and e-mail notification during emergencies. Currently, UT has more than 20,000 people registered for the text system.
For the TBI’s full report, visit http://www.tbi.state.tn.us/divisions/isd_csu_sac.htm and click on the “Crime on Campus” report for 2008.