Crime Drops Across Georgia Tech Campus

Georgia Tech campus crime decreased by more than 29 percent last year, according to Georgia Tech police statistics. The campus saw a 66.7 percent decrease in robbery, and motor vehicle theft dropped by 51.1 percent. Larceny-theft decreased by 29.9 percent.

Deputy Chief Anthony Purcell attributed the drop to a combination of factors that together helped campus police crack down on crime.

"We're asking everyone on campus to be our eyes and ears. It is a team effort between all campus departments, students, and campus police," said Purcell.

Purcell says the police department has incorporated a philosophy of better campus communication to help reduce crime. Those communication efforts include campus-wide e-mail alerts that identify suspicious people and activity.

Crime within Zone 5 of the Atlanta Police Department, which Georgia Tech falls within, has seen a decrease in crime as well. Zone 5 covers Midtown, Downtown, a portion of 4th Ward, and a portion of Southwest Atlanta. Overall crime decreased 10 percent, robbery and auto theft were down 16 percent, and larceny-theft was down 8 percent within the zone.

Campus police are also relying on cooperation with other Georgia Tech departments, such as Facilities, which patrols campus and can alert police to any suspicious activity.

Tech Square also received high grades from Purcell in reducing crime.

"Technology Square and other Midtown developments have responded to our request for assistance by alerting us and/or APD to any suspicious behavior in the area. This allows us to 'check it out' and have a high visibility of patrol in the area. We believe this has helped with the decrease in crime," said Purcell.

Internally, Purcell says each officer is supportive of the plan that Chief of Police Teresa Crocker has set in place. He claims officers are excited about the success and being diligent about their work.

Purcell says that crime analysis has also helped with crime reduction.

"We track trends and patterns. If we identify a particular problem and track it as a trend, then we can place the appropriate personnel in the affected area to see if we can apprehend someone. I think when you arrest the people doing crimes, it is a great deterrent and crime will go down."

The campus police department also keeps track of repeat offenders. Rather than just keep track of criminals until they are jailed, officers also monitor release dates of criminals who have committed crimes on campus.

"It gives officers a chance to be more vigilant and more alert to see if they notice a particular individual on campus," says Purcell.

Campus police have also added two k-9 units that help deter crime. According to Purcell, the dogs' presence and loud bark are sometimes enough to keep potential criminals from acting.

Purcell says, "The staff's diligence in their day-to-day responsibilities has led to significant reduction in campus crime."