UI journalism students launch site on campus crime

A website starting up on Thursday will provide information about crime on the University of Illinois campus.

CampusCrime.net will be an interactive resource providing research and analysis about issues relating to crime on campus, according to Eric Meyer, an associate professor of journalism .

UI student Kate Szyszka said more than 40 journalism students from two classes have been working on the project for more than a month, with contributions from an additional eight students from other journalism classes.

"We've worked countless hours on this, but the work has been worthwhile," Szyszka said.

Meyer said the students' research showed that a combination of an increase in violent crime with the expansion of crime alerts to the campus community may have created a climate of fear and concern among some students and parents.

"The crime is not at historic heights, but the number of crime alerts is up because the university changed its policy about sending alerts," Meyer said.

Meyer said the project also indicates that parents are concerned about sexual assaults in the dormitories, off-campus assaults have been increasing, and university police have increased their resources.

"Visitors to the site can read the quotes and look at the data," Meyer said. "It is designed to allow people to form their own opinions."

Szyszka said her favorite parts of CampusCrime.net are its interactive features.

"We've got interviews with the crime victims and a video montage of people sneaking into the dorms," she said.

The site also includes an analysis of crime databases, interactive maps and graphics, photos from the scenes of crimes featured in 30 university crime alerts, and the results of a survey of more than 200 students about where they think the most dangerous locations on campus are.

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