TU crime remains lowest in USM
The FBI has released new statistics that state Towson University had the lowest rate of recorded homicides, rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults and arsons within the University System of Maryland in 2011.
Per every 1,000 individuals on campus, 6.37 have suffered from one of these crimes, according to the Uniform Crime Report, which FBI compiles annually.
Towson has seen a downward trend in crime since 1995 as shown by the UCR, despite a steady increase in enrollment.
In 1995, the total number of students were enrolled was 14,551, in 2012 21,464 students enrolled in 2012. Towson’s Part 1 Crime was 30.93 per 1,000 in 1995.
“We’re fortunate that our numbers are going in the right direction but that’s never enough,” Towson University Chief of Police Bernard Gerst said. “Our goal is to prevent as much crime as we possibly can.”
Freshman Kira Giannoni said she noticed when she was applying to other Maryland schools and took tours of other campuses that there were a lot of non-students on the campus.
“I actually did look up crime statistics when applying, and Towson seemed pretty safe,” she said.
Freshman Sanaz Kabiryousefi said Towson having the lowest crime rate makes her feel more comforted.
“I thought it was probably one of the higher ones [crime rate],” she said.
These statistics do not recognize new challenges the department faces with keeping campus safe, such as multiple construction zones, and the increased number of faculty and other non-students attending on-campus events, Gerst said.
“Constructions sites are an opportunity for crime. And the more events we have, the more opportunity we have for a criminal event,” he said. “Not only has enrollment grown but the activity on campus has grown.”
The second lowest of the 12 other USM schools was the University of Baltimore with 7.65 Part 1 Crimes per 1,000 people, with the third lowest being the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with 10 Part 1 Crimes per 1,000 people.
The UCR Towson’s comparison to every institution within the USM: Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Frostburg State University, Morgan State University, the Universities of Maryland Baltimore, College Park and Eastern Shore, and St. Mary’s College and Salisbury University.
The Towson University Police Department continually reviews crime statistics, Gerst said, but when looking at the UCR they evaluate the several years’ worth of data.
Baltimore County has 34.94 Part 1 crimes per 1,000 people. Towson accounts for about one-fifth the county’s crime rate, Gerst said.
“The police department cannot do it all alone,” he said. “We can’t be everywhere at all times. We need the public to do their part.”
Captain Jonathan Trentzsch, commander of Towson’s Precinct, said that safety depends on a series of partnerships between the University, businesses and the community.
Trentzsch meets with Gerst at least once a month, he said. At the beginning of the semester he called on the Chamber of Commerce to organize a meeting between the precinct police, University police, and businesses to ensure communication among departments about potential problems, especially crowd control and underage drinking.
“So far it has been pretty good and we’ve formed a nice partnership,” Trentzsch said.