Reported crime in Fort Collins dropped 6.7 percent in 2004 from 2003, with the most marked decrease in property crime, according to FBI data released this year.
Property crimes such as theft and vandalism declined about 6.6 percent overall, while previous years had seen a rise. Violent crimes, including assault, rape and robbery, fell about 7.5 percent in the 126,848-population city, according to 2003 figures.
"There are cycles that appear in crime," said Fort Collins Police Services spokeswoman Rita Davis. "You may see a low homicide rate for years and one year have several homicides."
She said that a one-year "snapshot" of crime might not be a fair assessment of crime.
The FBI Unified Crime Reporting statistics measures only reported crimes, not convictions or crimes that have gone unreported.
Aggravated assault remained the most commonly reported violent crime, though it dropped to 201 from 276. Reported motor-vehicle thefts dropped to 258 from 302.
"I think it's a safe community," said Megan Thorburn , a junior health and exercise science major. "I've never been approached or had any confrontational problems."
However, the number of reported forcible rapes jumped to 129 in 2004 from the previous year's 105.
Megin Nichols, second-year veterinary student, said recent news about a violent sexual predator moving into the city reminded her about dangers facing women.
"I remember when they had the serial rapist going around. That's always on the back of your mind," Nichols said. "It's about being aware of your environment."
Nichols said she and her friends use a buddy system around town.
"We have our token guy we take everywhere," she said, laughing.
Fellow second-year veterinary student Katrina Rohrbacher said she was confident in Fort Collins' safety – with one exception: She is most afraid during her daily bicycle ride on Prospect Road.
She said she shares the street with often-reckless motorists: "They might take me out some day."