U of M police chief credits students with helping reduce crime on campus

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's 2017 statistics show that crime is down on college campuses in Tennessee.

From 2016 to 2017, reported crime at Tennessee's colleges and universities fell 2.8 percent.

Robberies took the sharpest fall, down 55 percent from 2016 to 2017.

Sexual assault took a significant fall as well. Overall, sex offenses dropped 26 percent, with rapes dropping 27 percent.

In addition to seeing fewer forcible sexual offenses, University of Memphis said it has solved a much higher percentage of the cases reported. In 2016, the university only closed 22 percent of those cases, but in 2017 that number increased to 71 percent.

Campus Chief of Police Mary Balee credits the social climate of the day with helping police increase the solve rate of sexual crimes on campus.

"I think it's the climate we are in; the students are taking more responsibility in reporting things," Balee said.

Balee said students have helped make the campus safer. She credits a see something, say something campaign that's encouraging students to stand up for what's right. She also said the campus' more than 800 cameras means suspicious activity is almost always caught on camera.

Nationally, one crime category that has been trending in the opposite direction is drunk driving. Reported DUI offenses increased by 60 percent year-to-year.

"This report will hopefully assist law enforcement, institution administrations, and government officials in planning their efforts in the fight against crime and continue to create an awareness that crime exists as a threat in our communities," said TBI Director Mark Gwyn.

You can view the full 181-page report in full below:

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