Crimes reported to the Cal Poly campus police are down 46 percent over the past five years, according to recent police statistics.

These include offenses reported to the police such as arson, car theft, assault and robbery. Such crimes were down from 340 reports in 1999 to 182 in 2004.

Tony Aeilts, Cal Poly University chief of police, credits the drop to “community-oriented policing.”

The University Police Department adopted “community-oriented policing” in 2000. It is a policing philosophy that promotes communication between the police and the community.

The program focuses on “pro-active problem-solving and police-community partnerships,” according to the California Office of the Attorney General.

Police department personnel are spending time in the community and at student housing. By dealing with students on weekday afternoons, the department hopes to avoid having to respond to a situation on a weekend night, Aeilts said.

“It is important, in efforts to reduce crime, that community members feel comfortable working with their police department,” Aeilts said. “This has been a priority for us and I think it has paid dividends in the last few years.”

On the other hand, arrests for liquor and drug violations have remained fairly consistent over the past five years with more than usual arrests in 2003. In that year, there were 53 on-campus arrests for drugs or alcohol violations compared to 23 in 2004, according to statistics gathered in compliance with the federal Clery Act.

In 2003, there were 21 on-campus burglaries that resulted in arrests, compared to seven in 2004. Also in 2003, there were 12 arrests for on-campus car theft and two in 2004.

It is hard to say why the numbers spike and dip from year to year, Aeilts said.

The overall decline in crime mirrors a statewide decrease, according to the California Office of the Attorney General. Violent crime rates in California dropped 22.3 percent from 1998 to 2004.

The declines are being attributed to the efforts of local crime personnel, according to the California Office of the Attorney General

“We have been working pretty hard the last five or six years. Look at the numbers,” Aeilts said. “We don’t know what crimes have been prevented, but it is pretty neat.”

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