In a year when campus security has been called into question there is good news to report about the crime outlook at local colleges and universities.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation reported 7,321 offenses in 2007 compared to 8,425 offenses 2006, a 12.6% drop.
Drug and narcotic offenses were down 10.8% in 2007 as were thefts, down 0.4%.
Increased security, better lighting and surveillance cameras can be attributed to what officials with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have called a “significant decline.”
Kristin Helm, TBI spokesperson, said, “The last three years, it's been fairly consistent that it has decreased, but only by about 1% or 2% so to see a 13% decrease between 2006 and 2007 is pretty significant.”
With such a sharp drop, Helm said TBI officials wanted to know more.
She said, “When we saw that decrease, what we decided to do is contact universities across the state who are actually considered law enforcement universities, who have, physically have police departments, not just security departments, but police departments and we asked them, ‘why?” ‘What is it that you're doing that's going on in college campuses that have contributed to this significant decrease?'”
The TBI found colleges had increased public safety, installed card readers at all access points, hired more patrol officers and installed web cameras.
One number that stands out is the number of reported rapes.
There were 25 last year at Tennessee colleges compared to 21 the year before.
Even more startling, half of the rape victims in 2007 were Vanderbilt students.
Students on the Nashville campus Monday were surprised at the increase.
Vanderbilt University said they always encourage both men and women to step forward if they feel like they've been sexually assaulted and said they will continue to work on educating everyone at the school.
Police at the school agree. They too encourage everyone to come forward saying its never too late to report a rape.
Click HERE to view the complete 2007 TBI Campus Crime Report.