The recently released annual “Clery Report” showed a general reduction in criminal activity on the UC Davis campus from 2011-12.
Some of the most notable reductions were a decrease in forcible sex offenses and a significant decrease in the number of burglaries that occurred in 2012 — two of the most common crimes on campus. The Clery Report numbers from 2012 also showed that there were no hate crimes on campus during that year.
“We’re working with the community to keep the campus a safe place to work, study, visit and live,” said UC Davis Police Chief Matt Carmichael in a news release from the UC Davis news service.
The reduced crime rates can be attributed in part to increased use of preventative measures by students. Simple things like keeping windows closed at night and during vacations, staying aware of surroundings and not going out alone after dark can help to decrease some types of crime.
The Clery Report numbers for 2012-13 have not been released yet.
Bike theft, burglary on campus
UC Davis has more bikes registered through TAPS than it does full time students, and bike theft is a big issue for everyone from students to professors.
“Bike theft is the biggest crime that we see on campus,” said Andy Fell of the UC Davis Police Department.
Bike theft could certainly account for a large amount of the burglary charges shown in the 2012 Clery Report.
Contrasting the improved crime rates on the UC Davis campus is the explosion that took place on the UC Berkeley campus on Sept. 30.
According to UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof, who spoke about the incident to the LA Times, the explosion was most likely caused by a burglary that occurred earlier in the week when copper wire was stolen from an off-campus electrical system. The explosion took place near California Hall, and at least four people sustained mild injuries such as burns.
“[We] weren’t sure what to do in the emergency,” said Karin Olivia, a fourth-year UC Davis animal science major who was visiting friends at UC Berkeley when the explosion went off. “It was mass hysteria at first.”
All students were evacuated from the UC Berkeley campus at the time of the disaster while fire, police and ambulance crews contained the explosion and made sure that everyone was safe. About 20 people were trapped in the elevators but were eventually rescued, and temporary generators were brought into the campus to power buildings while repairs were being made.
According to Fell, the UC Davis campus has well developed disaster preparedness plans for such emergencies. A full time emergency planner is in charge of the program, and an emergency operations center coordinates responses.
Fell also advises students and faculty to sign up for WarnMe text alerts to receive info about potentially dangerous situations. You can sign up at warnme.ucdavis.edu.
Homicides in City of Davis
The City of Davis is considered to be a relatively “crime free” city, Fell said. However, two cases of homicide occurred in the City of Davis this past year.
The first was the double homicide of elderly Davis couple Oliver “Chip” Northrup and Claudia Maupin, whose bodies were discovered on April 14, 2013. Daniel Marsh, 16, has been accused of killing Northup and Maupin.
Marsh is ineligible for the death penalty because of his age, and has pled not guilty to the charges of murder and torture. However, he is being tried as an adult and faces life in prison if convicted.
Most recently, a five-year-old girl was found in the trunk of her mother’s car in Sacramento and pronounced dead on the way to the hospital on Sept. 30. While the mother and daughter were found in Sacramento, the crime is suspected to have happened in the City of Davis, within a mile of the area where Northrup and Maupin were killed in April.
The homicides from the past year have definitely shaken up some Davis residents. The prime suspect for the death of the five-year-old is her mother, 29-year-old Aquelin Talamantes. Northrup and Maupin’s murder shocked residents because a teenager was found to be responsible for the horrible tragedy.
“I worry about kids [being] out at night,” said Michael Plonsk, a citizen of the City of Davis.
The Clery Report may indicate a lowered crime rate, but the recent events show that serious crimes do still occur, and members of the UC Davis and City of Davis communities have reason to be cautious.
Students that are at any time worried about their safety when they are out and about are encouraged to call the campus escort service or campus security and to always report any suspicious behavior.
TAYLOR CUNNINGHAM can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.