Harvard Police Report Decline In Crime Rate

Thefts at Harvard are down to 12 per cent below last year's levels and violent crimes are down 15 per cent, University Police figures show.

The figures also show that reductions were greatest during the summer months, when fewer people are in the area.

For the first six months of the year, thefts in Cambridge ran more than 20 per cent higher than last year, and violent crimes were down 5.5 per cent, according to FBI crime figures.

Captain Jeffrey S. Kahn attributes Harvard's reduction in crime to better allocation of police resources, a concerted effort to improve crime prevention, a greater emphasis on apprehending criminals and the reorganization and revitalization of auxiliary security support.

Among these police resources, Kahn cited a computer system that directs patrols and records crime trends in the University.

An on-call group of officers who only work when they are needed has also helped to reduce crime according to Kahn.

Beefed-Up Patrols

By beefing up patrols at Peabody Terrace and the Divinity School, two sites of violent crime in the University last year, the police department has lowered the number of assaults in those two areas, Kahn said.

The department is currently trying to improve its manpower by sending officers to the State Police academy and training them in arrest laws, firearm use and report writing.

Kahn said that security surveys and complete security reviews are the basis of the department's new crime prevention effort. Crime prevention officers inspect buildings in the University and make recommendations to the Faculty about improving security.

The department has also printed brochures and posters to "create public awareness of crime prevention."

All these improvements, Kahn said, were made without increasing the number of officers and with a budget that has increased less than the rate of inflation.

Petty Thefts

Even with all the innovations, Kahn acknowledged that "theft is still a significant problem at Harvard." Recently, there has been a rash of petty thefts at the Med School, and an increase in bikes stolen from Holyoke Center and car vandalism at Peabody Terrace.

Kahn pointed out that a "certain amount" of theft in the University is perpetrated by students, employees and faculty.

"Crime is a social disease," Kahn said. "The police don't solve it--they just remove some of the symptoms."


William Alfred, Kenan Professor of English, is "resting comfortably" in Mount Auburn Hospital following the onset several days ago of an undisclosed illness, a spokesman for the hospital said yesterday.

"He will be going home very shortly--probably by next week," the hospital spokesman said, although he declined to discuss the nature of Alfred's illness or how long Alfred has been in the hospital.

A spokesman for the English Department said yesterday that Alfred is expected to return to his teaching duties soon, and added that his illness does not appear to be extremely serious