Tension from the recession has brought on a rise in Fresno crime citywide, but especially around campus.
The northeast area of Fresno, where the California State University, Fresno campus is located, has a higher crime rate than many other areas.
According to Fresno Police Department Crime Data, total crimes in the area raised from 24,234 in December 2007 to 25,061 in December 2008. Total crime numbers include violent crime offenses and property crime offenses.
However, reports from the University Police Department show that on-campus crime is low.
Amy Armstrong, the University Police Departmentâ€™s Public Information Officer said that the most common crime is theft, and theyâ€™ve seen no significant difference in violence.
Armstrong said that attitudes havenâ€™t changed much since the recession. However, she did say that it seems like student morale is lower.
The jurisdiction for the University Police Department extends one mile beyond university property.
However, the areaâ€™s surrounding campus has earned a bad reputation, despite police efforts.
Jenna Rogers, a Fresno State student who lives near campus, said she heard that sexual assault has gone up 30 percent in Fresno, in addition to other crimes.
Although the recession-driven crime increase hasnâ€™t affected her in any personal way, Rogers said it makes sense because when people lose their jobs, they turn to drugs and alcohol.
â€œIt only makes sense that domestic abuse and sexual assaults would go up,â€ she said.
Rogers added that she does feel safe living in the area, but only to a certain extent.
â€œCrime happens everywhere,â€ Rogers said.
Student Denise Cooper, who lives in a nearby apartment complex, disagreed. She said crime is particularly high in the area because of the low-income housing nearby, and she does not feel safe at all.
â€œI wonâ€™t walk by myself at night, not even to my car,â€ Cooper said. â€œIâ€™ve only lived here since August and I already know that I donâ€™t want to live in this area next year.â€
It is always a question of whether or not the crime rate will go back down after the recession comes to an end. Worried residents of Fresno, however, may fear the high numbers could become a permanent trend.
The National Bureau of Economic Research declared December 2007 the official start of the recession. It was then that employment reached its highest point and the economy began its downturn.
Itâ€™s still unclear how long it will take for crime to fall back down as the economy makes it steady climb back up.