By Marilyn King
The State News
Published: August 6, 2008

East Lansing is at a 28-year low for serious crimes, according to recent reports conducted by the East Lansing Police Department.

Numbers for serious crimes, or part I crimes, which include murder, non-negligent manslaughter, criminal sexual conduct, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, auto theft and arson, been cut nearly in half since 1991.

Statistics from 2007 show a 37 percent reduction in crime from the average from 1979 to 2007.

East Lansing police Chief Tom Wibert said a number of community efforts are responsible for the decrease, including stricter admissions requirements at MSU.

“I really think the department of admissions over at MSU needs to be given as much credit as the police department,” Wibert said.

The ELPD also has been receiving less calls about noise violations. In 2003, the ELPD was averaging 2,000 calls per year. The number was reduced by nearly half in 2007, with 1,098 calls. A third of the calls end in citations, Wibert said.

During the last three years, alcohol-related citations also have decreased. Wibert said that 81 percent of MSU students find a safe way home after drinking.

Psychology sophomore Kerilyn Taraszkiewicz said on-foot transportation around campus could tie in with lower crime rates.

“With MSU as a party school, you’d think there’d be more DUIs and drunk driving charges, but we all walk so I guess that’s not an issue,” she said.

East Lansing police Capt. Kim Johnson said it may be difficult to notice a crime decrease on a day-to-day basis, but the numbers show that efforts have positively benefited the community.

“When you start pulling numbers from previous years, and talk to officers who work the streets every night, you see noticeable differences,” he said.

Parties in the city end earlier than they used to, Johnson said. In past years, parties would go until 4 or 5 a.m., but now usually end by 2 or 3 a.m., he said.

Wibert said there is still work that needs to be done.

“Until this place is Disney World and I’m wearing a Mickey Mouse suit, there’s work to be done,” he said. “We will continue to go toward better technology and ways to improve.”

Staff writer Abby Lubbers contributed to this report.

Published on Wednesday, August 6, 2008