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Official: Iowa City’s recent crime wave ‘unusual’

BY BRENT GRIFFITHS | NOVEMBER 06, 2012 6:30 AM

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After two break-ins in a local neighborhood over the weekend and previous incidents on the University of Iowa campus, officials are asking people to be proactive in trying to avoid future incidents.                

One Iowa City police official said one of the reasons for the recent wave in crime is the increase in the number of people carrying such expensive items as cell phones and laptops.

“People are carrying around expensive things they wouldn’t have several years ago,” Iowa City police Sgt. Denise Brotherton said. “… The iPad and the $400 cell phone in the $400 purse …”

Brotherton said the incidents were not related, but the robberies over the weekend were out of the ordinary, given their location.

“It’s more unusual for it to happen out there,” she said. “Usually it happens in the downtown area, but we seem to go through a rash of burglaries in neighborhoods every year. It goes to show you it can happen anywhere.”’

According to Iowa City police records obtained by The Daily Iowan, burglary/breaking and entering has increased over the last three years. There were a reported 305 cases in 2009 compared with the 362 reported cases in 2011. As of Nov. 1, there have been 354 cases of breaking and entering.

Dave Visin, an associate director of the UI police, also characterized the recent spike as “unusual” and agreed with the idea of increased expensive technology as one of the reasons for the recent crime increase. He also said police will continue to alert students when they learn of threats near or on campus.

Students had varying reactions to the recent Hawk Alert and incidents on campus but generally said they will be more cautious and take better note of their surroundings.

“I feel safe … but I will be cautious where I place my phone,” UI sophomore Adam Friesth said. “I can’t control what other people do, but I can control how I carry [my phone] and where I put it.”

One student said the recent cases have made her nervous when she walks home to her apartment at night. She has said since the alerts, she makes sure to find someone to walk with or talk to someone on the phone.

“I live in an apartment, and walking back when it’s not it makes me wonder if I’m safe or not,” UI sophomore Maddy Drisi said.

Another student said, since the crimes, he no longer carries his laptop with him when he goes to the library, and he ensures he walks in a group.

“Usually, I need my laptop when I do my homework, but I would rather be safe then have my backpack stolen,” UI freshman Jack Koziol said. “I would rather have someone take my bag and a couple of books than my whole bag and $2,000 worth of technology.”

Brotherton said the best way to avoid the incidents is to be proactive, but if people are confronted, it’s best to choose safety or personal items.

“Choose personal safety over property, and just give it away,” she said.


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