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‘Incidents of Opportunity’ Control Campus Crimes

Burglary is the top crime on campus, according to the annual UMKC Campus Crime and Fire Safety Report that was released last week.

The report details yearly statistics for murder, sexual offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, arson, motor vehicle thefts and hate crimes from the previous three years.

From 2008-10, burglary accounted for nearly all of the reported crimes. In 2008, 20 thefts occurred, followed by 37 in 2009, then 39 in 2010.

The police department attributes a high percentage of the cases simply as “incidents of opportunity” that occur when faculty, staff and students unintentionally put their property at risk. Making sure doors are locked, personal items aren’t left unattended and bystanders stay alert are ways to prevent these types of incidents from occurring in future cases.

Provided by the UMKC Police Department, the report consists of all reported crimes that took place in buildings on the Volker and Hospital Hill campuses, certain off-campus buildings, other property controlled by UMKC, and adjacent public property.

“I look forward to working with our community to address the challenges associated with the academic community. I can assure you that all members of UMKC Police Department are committed to being partners with our community and providing excellent service,” Chief of Police Michael Bongartz wrote in his annual statement.

UMKC’s police force also employs preventative strategies to lessen cases when intervention is necessary. “UMKC officers have the same power and authority as any other police officer in the State,” the report states.

The force consists of 28 police officers, nine security guards and six communications operators.

The report also contains overviews for campus law enforcement policy, drug and alcohol policies, sex offense policy, missing student policy, crime prevention programs, timely warnings and emergency response/notification. The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, sexual assault and other matters. Also, the report includes information regarding the fire safety requirements of the Higher Education Opportunity Act.

Overall, it showcases a different crimes scene on campus, compared to the surrounding municipal area.

According to a February U.S. News report, Kansas City is the 9th most dangerous city in the country.

Cities were ranked in the report, according to FBI crime reporting data of the most recent seven years, 2003-09. Although Kansas City showed slower rates of growth in violent crimes than other cities on the list, its general crime rate is more than three times the national average.

While motor vehicle theft decreased 19 percent throughout the seven-year period, aggravated assault grew 4 percent. Forcible rape also increased by 11 percent.

Additionally, the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline notched its 10,000th felony arrest last week, since October 1982.

Kansas City’s high level of crime has been attributed to many factors throughout the years, including the fact that Kansas City’s elected officials lack control over the city’s police department.

Moreover, Kansas City’s police department is in a transition period, searching for a new police chief to replace retired Police Chief Jim Corwin, who spent 32 years with the department.

ltrigg@unews.com

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