Activity report: Thefts up 50% this year


Mackenzie Bodell, Senior Reporter

Thefts increased by 142.9%, jumping from seven in March 2022 to 17 in March 2023, and overall numbers for the year are up around 50%. 

“Theft is one of those crimes that is a crime of opportunity,” said Iowa State University Police Chief Michael Newton. “We really push to educate people about not leaving stuff unattended and making sure everything is locked up.”

Traffic and accidents increased 126.3%, spiking from 2022’s 19 to 43. 

Part of this is due to more documentation happening on ISUPD’s side of things, Newton said. There have also been some traffic initiatives the department is taking part in, which explains part of the increase. One of the initiatives is focusing on pedestrian safety and making the community aware of when, where and how to cross streets safely. 

A main focus for the department is getting impaired drivers off the road. 

“We’re definitely focused in, and our night crew is really looking at how we get impaired drivers off the street,” Newton said. “It has been a priority through this entire year for us.”

Traffic stops totaled an increase of 68%. The department continues to focus on enforcement due to some community complaints in certain areas of Ames.

All calls for services increased by 83.5%, going from 1,697 to 3,114. Part of this increase comes from the department having a fully staffed team, including the campus safety ambassadors. They can catch more things and are putting an emphasis on documentation. 

During March, the department underwent taser recertification as part of the training. Coming up, the department will do wellness and well-being training for all staff. 

The March activity report outlines the quarterly use of force incidents. The department reviews every case in which an officer needs to respond to some form of resistance. 

March 2023 summary statistics:

Assaults: 2

Sexual assaults/fondling: 0

Harassment incidents: 3

Burglary: 1

Thefts: 17

Thefts from a motor vehicle: 0

Motor vehicle theft: 0

Drug violations: 13

Alcohol violations: 7

Extortion/forgery/scam/fraud: 1

Criminal mischief/vandalism: 12

OWI: 15

Traffic and accidents: 43

Welfare check/medical assist: 9

Traffic stops: 615

New reports: 124

Calls for service: 3,114

A link to the full report can be found here.