AU area considered ‘high crime’

Report says over 25 crimes occur in area per year

Sectors around AU have been designated as high crime areas, according to a report released earlier this month.

The District of Columbia Crime Policy Institute report classified census blocks, or the smallest unit measured by the U.S. Census Bureau, in the District into five categories based on the average number of crimes in each area from 2000-2009.

The block including AU and one of its surrounding blocks are part of the highest category, with 25 or more crimes per year.

“This is really common for college campuses,” said Meagan Cahill, an author of the report. “There’s a high number [of crimes], but they are minor.”

Census blocks are bound by physical features such as roads and vary in size. Larger blocks may include parks or green spaces and do not necessarily follow typical block pattern.

AU’s campus makes up most of one of the designated high crime blocks. Within this block, 63 percent of the overall crime was due to theft, 20 percent due to burglaries and 10 percent was theft from an automobile, according to Cahill.

Approximately 20 percent of census blocks in the District fall into the two top “high crime” categories, with 10 or more crimes per year. These account for more than 60 percent of the crime that occurs in the District.

The report measures crimes including homicide, sexual assault, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and theft from a motor vehicle.

The census block encompassing main campus is bordered by Massachusetts Avenue, Nebraska Avenue, Rockwood Parkway, Glenbrook Road, Quebec Street and University Avenue. The other block designated as high crime includes the Berkshire Apartments and is bordered by Massachusetts Avenue, Nebraska Avenue, Van Ness Street, Wisconsin Avenue, and 39th Street.

Crime on AU’s campus is not just from those within the school community. It could come from anyone who wanders onto campus, said Public Safety Lt. Rima Sifri.

“Within each block you are talking about a small city,” said Sifri. “It’s an open campus.”

Sifri said theft accounts for the largest number of crimes on campus. In 2009 there was one on-campus robbery and 31 on-campus burglaries, according to the 2010 Annual Security Report.

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