SECC statistics show decline in violent crime in Hyde Park areaBy Sabrina L. Miller
Newly released 2006 crime statistics for the University and surrounding neighborhoods show a general continuation of the decades-long trend of steady declines, especially for violent crime.
According to statistics compiled by the South East Chicago Commission, which tracks crime in Hyde Park-South Kenwood based on information received from the Chicago Police Department, crime was lower than in 2005 in four of six categories, including robbery, which was the lowest in the greater Hyde Park-South Kenwood community since the SECC began compiling statistics in 1975. Robberies in 2006 decreased 29 percent from the previous year and were down by nearly 40 percent compared to 1996. The only major category where crime increased from 2005 to 2006 was burglary, a property crime category.
Overall property crime in Hyde Park-South Kenwood dropped 14 percent from 2005 to 2006. Total violent crime in 2006 was 43 percent lower than 10 years ago.
However, crime also varies within the reporting area, and notably more crimes were reported in 2006 in the area immediately around the campus, despite the overall decline. The majority of those crimes were street robberies, said SECC Executive Director Robert Mason.
Hank Webber, Vice-President for Community and Government Affairs, said while the reasons for the local increase around campus are unclear, the University has responded by adding campus police patrols and also by continuing to work diligently to make students, faculty and staff aware of numerous existing University resources regarding safety precautions. In addition, a major study of area lighting is underway.
“There has been significant progress over the last decade, and we still have more work to do, and we are committed to doing it, ” Webber said.
More than 140 University officers patrol the campus and surrounding communities. The University’s Common Sense guide, which includes safety tips and other information on “safe urban living” is distributed throughout the campus community and also is available online at http://commonsense.uchicago.edu/.
Members of the University community also are encouraged to sign up for safety awareness alerts at https://listhost.uchicago.edu/mailman/listinfo/safety-awareness.