October 24, 2017

Wayne State among safest campuses in Southeast Michigan

Midtown Detroit, which includes Wayne State’s 200-acre campus, has experienced another year of decreasing crime, a trend that has shown a 55 percent overall decline since 2009.

According to the recently released Clery Act reportable 2016 crime statistics, serious crimes such as homicides and assaults continue to reveal a downward movement. The reports, required under the federal Clery Act, cover about 20 areas, ranging from burglary and arson to rape, identified as Class 1 crimes.

Compared to Michigan’s other public universities, Wayne State is one of the safest campuses in Southeast Michigan. An Oct. 6, 2017, MLive story includes data for the state’s 15 public universities.

Anthony Holt, WSU chief of police, says he expects the data to continue moving in a downward trajectory. “My goal — our goal as a department — is to see the crime numbers trending down on a regular basis. I anticipate that next year’s data will put the overall decrease since 2009 at about 60 percent.”

Holt credits the continuing decline in crime to the commitment of Wayne State’s leadership, the dedication of WSU’s 67 police officers, and partnerships and collaborations in the community. “From the top down, the university’s leadership has continued to support our department and provide resources for us to get the job done, even as our patrol area expands,” Holt says.

WSUPD currently patrols a 6.5-square-mile radius that covers north to Grand Boulevard, south to Mack Avenue, east to I-75 and west to 14th Street. Next spring, when the new Mike Ilitch School of Business facility opens in District Detroit, WSUPD’s coverage area will expand another 2.5 miles, which Holt says will require hiring as many as 10 more police officers to accommodate WSU’s extended reach. “Another factor to consider when examining community policing in Midtown is the rapid population growth,” he says. “The area now shows a 97 percent occupancy rate.”

Wayne State’s police department has been recognized by community leaders and collaborative agencies for programs it has developed and administered for students and staff, and for the overall success of its community-policing model.

“The decrease in crime throughout the Midtown area can be attributed to an overall shift in our department’s approach to policing,” Holt says. “In 2009, we implemented CompStat, a data-driven crime reduction strategy. On a biweekly basis, we bring together about 40 people representing law enforcement agencies and community partners. Our objective is to focus on crime hot spots. Through this collaborative effort and technology, we can effectively target specific areas where crimes are being committed.”

Holt also points to the new Campus Community Police Officer program as a tool to foster relationships between students and staff and the WSUPD. The program currently has one officer focused on crime prevention and problem solving through the establishment of partnerships with the university community. Also involved in the program are two mounted police officers who patrol the campus throughout the year.

This type of community-oriented policing, says Holt, contribute to the campus’ safe and secure living environment. “Campus Community officers are assigned to specific residence halls and the area surrounding the location. The officers concentrate exclusively on their section of the campus, building relationships and encouraging dialogue with community members.”

Wayne State’s police department offers a variety of crime prevention services and awareness programs. For further information, visit police.wayne.edu/programs.php.

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