UW cited as safe campus; violent crimes decrease

The University of Washington campus had a 17 percent drop in violent felony crimes between 1989 and 1990, UW police reported in February. The number of violent felony crimes—murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault—was 18 in 1989 and 15 in 1990.

However, the numbers are up for what the FBI calls “Part One Crimes,” which are violent felonies plus burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft. Those incidents rose 5.6 percent, from 1,103 crimes in 1989 to 1,165 in 1990.

UW Police Chief Michael Shanahan says the UW campus generally is a safe environment for the 50,000 faculty, staff, students and visitors who come daily. For the past 20 years, it has been one of the safest urban campuses in the nation. For example, in 1989 the violent felony crime rate for Seattle was 14.0 incidents per 1,000 population. For the UW campus it was 0.36 per 1,000 population.

Although the national media has recently focused attention on the issue of crime on college campuses, “much of it has bypassed the UW largely because of the community policing model this institution has followed,” Shanahan says. Those programs include officers who patrol residence halls, frequent crime prevention seminars and an after-dark escort service.

The UW’s record is in contrast to those of high crime campuses. President Bush recently signed a federal law compelling universities to disclose crime statistics to prospective students, those enrolled and their parents. Frank Carrington, a lobbyist for the new law, complimented the UW for publishing crime rates on a quarterly basis in the Daily. Carrington told the press he considers the UW “to be just about the best in the country on this.”

A summary of the 1990 statistics includes the following: no murders, three forcible rapes, two robberies and 10 aggravated assaults. There were 43 simple assaults, 177 burglaries, 898 larceny crimes and 32 motor vehicle thefts.