Burglaries continue to show sharp decrease at Eastern Michigan University, annual security report shows

Drop linked to increased safety measures, new programs and added police staff

by Geoff Larcom, Published October 04, 2012

YPSILANTI - Burglaries, among the most frequently reported of all crimes on America's college campuses, have continued to drop dramatically at Eastern Michigan University.

Campus burglaries decreased by 55 percent from 2010 to 2011, falling from 29 to 13, according to the Eastern Michigan University 2012 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.

The report, which includes statistical information from 2009 through 2011, also shows a significant percentage drop in the burglaries in Eastern's residence halls and student apartments. That fell approximately 31 percent, from 13 in 2010 to just nine last year.

Bob Heighes, EMU's Executive Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police, says one of the primary goals of his department continues to be to reduce burglaries.


EMU Executive Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Bob Heighes: Reducing burglaries "a campus-wide focus."

"This has been a campus-wide focus," Heighes said. "We have received considerable support from the University and the University community, including our students, in this effort."

Heighes noted that much of burglary decrease results from recent prevention efforts. Those include the EMU Area Police Officer and Crime Prevention programs. EMU now has two area police office substations, located in the lobby areas of Downing and Walton/Putnam halls.  In addition, the EMU Police Department has presented over 160 crime prevention programs throughout the 2011/2012 academic year.  Such programs not only help prevent B&Es, but also educate students on campus safety, Heighes says.

In recent years, EMU has also added additional officers who patrol campus on foot and interact with students, faculty and staff. There is also a Crime Response Unit, which focuses on specific crimes and ways to prevent it on campus.

"Both of these efforts significantly benefit and protect our EMU community," Heighes said.

President Sue Martin said, "The sharp decline in burglaries at Eastern shows the impact of all the safety and security changes we have made along with excellent work of our DPS staff and police force. We have added a crime response unit and additional dispatchers because we want our campus community to feel safe and secure to live and learn in.  Safety is a top priority."

The most recent decreases in burglaries continue a trend that began in 2008, when burglaries dropped 61 percent from the previous year. In fact, since 2007, when EMU reported 123 on campus burglaries, reported incidences of that crime have dropped nearly 90 percent.  Heighes notes that while a small portion of that change is likely attributable to new federal classification categories adopted in 2010, the majority of the decrease, including last year's drop, stems from EMU's extensive crime prevention efforts.

Eastern Michigan saw declines or minimal numerical change from the previous year in the crime categories that are reported to the federal government.  One noteworthy trend is a rise in on-campus liquor violations, from 54 in 2009 to 63 last year - the product of increased patrols and enforcement. Similarly, drug law violations rose from 28 in 2009 to 53 last year, an increase of 47 percent.

EMU's focus on public safety included the building of a state-of-the art headquarters for the Department of Public Safety on the northwest end of campus. The $3.9 million facility, which opened in fall 2009, was a money-saving conversion of the former Hoyt Conference Center.

In other recent noteworthy safety and security enhancements, EMU has:

  • Assembled a network of nearly 500 surveillance cameras located across campus. They are located in the interior and exterior of the academic and residence hall buildings.
  • Enhanced residence hall security by adding swipe cards at entrances of all 11 residence halls. The Village has both swipe cards and keys for the exterior. The First Year Center uses swipe cards for both the exterior doors and for the corridor doors leading to the residences' rooms.
  • Installed hotel-style type, self-locking room doors located in the First Year Center, made up of Phelps, Putnam, Walton and Sellers Residence Halls.
  • SEEUS (Student Eyes and Ears for University Safety) patrols continue to operate seven days a week. The primary purpose of SEEUS is to provide escorts to persons walking alone on campus.
  • Night Watch program hours have been expanded to 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. by Resident Life Staff.
  • Created an emergency text-message alert system that notifies all subscribers in the event of an emergency situation on campus.
  • Developed an Emergency Alert Outdoor and Indoor speaker array system for use during campus emergencies, which is tested across campus each month on the last Friday of the month.

In addition, a crime mapping application located on the DPS Web site http://geodata.acad.emich.edu/Crime/Main.htm provides users with a visual representation of where crime is occurring by adding markers to a map of the campus and the city.

 The annual security and fire safety report contains crime statistics concerning reported crimes that occurred on-campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Eastern Michigan University; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from campus.

A copy of this report can be obtained by contacting the University's Department of Public Safety at 734-487-0892 or by accessing the following website: http://www.emich.edu/publicsafety/police/documents/current_yearly_crime_stats.pdf


Geoff Larcom



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