The University of Illinois Police Department recently began using the emergency alert system to notify students of reported serious crime on campus, including reports in the City of Champaign. The Champaign Police Department is getting feedback from some receiving those emergency alerts that it appears that serious crime is increasing substantially, when in fact, reported violent campus crime to the department has dropped from 244 to 217 (2007 to 2009), which represents an 11.1% decrease. The use of the new technology to publicize the reported crime has certainly increased awareness; however, the amount of violent crime reported in the campus area has consistently gone down over the past 15 years.
The Champaign Police Department examined reported violent crime in the University of Illinois (U of I) campus area and found that reported violent crime to the police department was cut in half in the last 15 years.
In 1994, there were 439 reported violent crimes (including attempts) in the U of I campus area of Champaign. Violent crimes include homicide, sexual assault, battery, robbery and assault, including any attempts. In 2009, there were 217 reported violent crimes in the U of I campus area of Champaign. This represents a 50.6% drop in violent crime in the campus area over 15 years. Campus Violent Crime Graph.
Some feedback to the department questions the relationship between the amount of time dedicated to alcohol enforcement and the amount of success in suppressing violent crime. The Champaign Police Department‘s priority is to make campus as safe as possible. The identification and arrest of those committing violent crime continues to have a higher priority than alcohol enforcement. In 2009, there were 9,409 calls for service in the campus area compared to approximately 30 organized alcohol enforcement details targeting underage drinkers. The overall number of alcohol enforcement details represents a very small percentage of the total amount of activity of the department. Any revenue generated from alcohol enforcement goes to the general fund of the City of Champaign. The amount of funding the City of Champaign allocates to the Police Department for alcohol enforcement details has not increased for several years.
When officers are conducting the limited number of alcohol details, they are also looking for alcohol related crime. It is a fact that increased alcohol consumption makes a person more vulnerable to violent crime, including sexual assaults and battery. Champaign Officers stop many batteries in progress due to their presence in and around bars. One alcohol detail actually resulted in an officer stopping a sexual assault in progress.
The Champaign Police Department will continue to utilize appropriate resources to suppress violent crime. Currently, the department has substantially increased the amount of uniformed and plain-clothes officers patrolling campus due to recent reports of four serious attacks. The department is working with the University of Illinois Police Department and the Urbana Police Department to coordinate our investigative activity.