The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released a report that shows a statewide increase of crime on college campuses for the first time in five years.
The report said the total number of offenses at Tennessee campuses increased to 7,538 in 2009, a 9.2 percent increase compared with 6,900 offenses in 2008.
But it's no cause for alarm, said Richard Janikowski, criminologist and University of Memphis associate professor. He said since the numbers are relatively low, an increase of even one can make it seem like crime is on the rise. " There could even be a spike caused by one person breaking in cars. Catch that person, crime drops," Janikowski said.
The TBI report said there was only one robbery on the U of M campus in 2008 and two in 2007. Among other campuses, LeMoyne-Owen was the only other one that reported robberies in 2009 with two. Theft was up last year at the UofM by 15 percent and burglaries were up 34 percent compared with 2008. At Christian Brothers College, theft dropped 15 percent , though the numbers were small to begin with.
"Since we've instituted campus police along with security and developed relationships with area neighborhood watch groups, we're able to push crime away from the campus and the neighborhoods," said Chief John Lotrionte, head of campus safety and police at CBU. Theft also dropped at Southwest Tennessee Community College by 36 percent from 32 in 2008 to 23.