The latest campus crime statistics from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation show drops in most major categories at Middle Tennessee State University.
The annual TBI report released recently showed the number of sexual offenses reported dropped from seven in 2015 to two in 2016. Weapon law violations remained the same, with four reported in both years.
Here's a summary of decreases in certain crime categories for 2016 with the percent decrease from 2015 in parentheses:
• Theft/larceny-total --
120 (down 18 percent)
• Assaults -- 39 (down 20
• DUI -- 16 (down 50
• Burglary -- 10 (down 47
• Trespass -- 9 (down 77
"Our University Police officers continue to be committed to public service and community interaction. I believe those are two keys to a healthier, safer campus," MTSU Police Chief Buddy Peaster said. "While we can't control every factor that affects crime rates, I know that the quality of work that our officers bring to the table have a lot to do with lowering the number of crimes reported to us."
MTSU continues to use a combination of enforcement activities and changes in student behavior as well as preventive actions to reduce crime, such as installation of more security cameras, improved campus lighting, increased foot patrols and community policing, as well as public awareness campaigns through Student Health Services and MTSU Housing and Residential Life.
Campus police officials again cautioned against reading too much into a single year of statistics. The office looks at trends over time to gauge whether prevention and enforcement efforts are effective in keeping students, faculty and staff safer.
Housing security measures include around-the-clock front desk coverage in dormitories, card-swipe access systems and locked entry doors.
The MTSU Health Services and Health Promotion office educates students on risk reduction techniques for substance use and violence prevention. The office also offers wellness programs and other courses around topics such as alcohol, drugs and sexual responsibility, which provide health information to students as well as information on the campus resources available to them.
The MTSU Department of Public Safety currently employs 44 full-time police officers, five full-time dispatchers and about 20 part-time student workers. It operates around the clock to protect the 500-plus-acre university campus.