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Burglaries at UH-Manoa up 19%

An open campus and changes in reporting are cited as factors in rising crime numbers

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

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Burglaries at the University of Hawaii at Manoa rose 19 percent in 2009 over the previous year, although the number of break-ins reported in dormitories and other residential areas declined 34 percent, according to statistics released by UH campus security earlier this month.

There were also increases in motor vehicle thefts and in liquor or drug-related offenses, but campus security Chief Wayne Ogino attributed those jumps to changes in reporting methods.

Ogino said burglaries are a challenge on the Manoa campus because it is so open. "That's the reason we're moving more into electronic surveillance," he said.

There are about 50 security cameras on campus, primarily in the parking and dormitory facilities. The number of cameras will be doubled by the end of the year, with the bulk of them going into common areas such as classroom buildings on Upper Campus as well as athletic facilities on Lower Campus, Ogino said.

Campus security has also broadcast electronic alerts via e-mail and text messages for immediate concerns. Last week, for instance, UH sent out a notice for people to be on the lookout after two trucks were stolen from the parking lot nearest the Hawaiian-studies building, Ogino said.

The sharp increase in the number of auto thefts is because the category included mo-peds for the first time in 2009.

As for the rise in liquor law and drug-related offenses in 2009, Ogino said he was told it was because the UH student housing office went to a less aggressive reporting policy in 2008 but returned to a stricter system in 2009, Ogino said.

Campus housing officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Ewa Beach sophomore Robert Pantoca, a biology major, said he has not been a victim of burglary on campus, but has heard stories from those who have.

Several UH dorm residents said enforcement of drinking and drugs is lax, especially in the Hale Aloha tower and apartment complexes in Lower Campus.

Ben Ritchie, a sophomore who lives at Frear Hall, said he does not think partying is a serious issue so long as partygoers do not make too much noise or bother their neighbors in some other fashion. "But if it's the resident managers' job to prevent it, they're doing a terrible job."

But Korllyn Gorai, a sophomore living in the Gateway House, said partying can be a problem if it spills out from rooms and that rules should be enforced. Too many young people take advantage of the freedom of living away from home for the first time and do not consider the feelings of neighbors, she said.

Kris Lopez, also a sophomore living at Gateway House, agreed. "There's no one to tell them what to do," he said. "But with independence comes responsibility, and sometimes they don't understand that yet."

Violations of drug and alcohol policies are handled by student housing officials, with the most severe penalty being expulsion.

UH-Manoa spokesman Gregg Takayama said the Manoa campus is relatively safe considering that there are 25,000 people on campus on any given weekday.

About 20,000 are students and 5,000 are faculty and staff, Ogino said. About 3,800 students live on campus.

"Overall it's a safe campus, but it does suffer from property thefts and that is something we are always reminding the campus community to always be aware of," Takayama said.

"We can always do better, but we're not far out of line with what's happening with the neighborhood," Ogino said.

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII-MANOA CRIME REPORT

  2009 2008 2007
Forceable sex offenses (campuswide) 4 4 6
Forceable sex offenses (dorms, residential facilities) 4 4 0
Aggravated assault (campuswide) 1 5 3
Aggravated assault (dorms, residential facilities) 1 5 3
Burglaries (campuswide, dorms included) 56 47 43
Burglaries (dorms, residential facilities) 21 32 27
Motor vehicle theft (campuswide)* 32 3 3
Motor vehicle theft (dorms, residential facilities)* 18 1 2
Liquor law violations (campuswide) 721 293 616
Liquor law violations (dorms, residential facilities) 721 291 616
Drug-related violations (campuswide) 84 54 112
Drug-related violations (dorms, residential facilities) 84 54 112

*2009 was first year mo-peds were included in category
Source: University of Hawaii

 






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