Alcohol violations increase steadily

Liquor law violations and aggravated assaults at GW increased in 2000 while other crime rates remained steady, according to crime statistics released by University Police last week. The rates are still well below peak numbers in the mid-1990s, according to the statistics, which are required by federal law.

The statistics include crime in all GW buildings in Foggy Bottom, residence halls, streets that border or run through campus and the recently acquired Columbia Plaza complex. The data do not include crimes in private buildings adjacent to campus, according to the UPD Web site.

Liquor law violations were the most frequent crimes in 2000 with 600 citations issued, an increase of about one-third from 1999. This number does not include students arrested by Metropolitan Police for alcohol-related crimes.

Stafford said the number of alcohol citations is troublesome.

“The number of students referred for liquor law violations concerns me,” Stafford said. “I was concerned last year, and I’m concerned this year. That’s a lot of students.”

The number of incidents in which liquor law violations were cited is steadily increasing. There were almost 220 incidents in which at least one person was cited for a liquor law violation, an increase of 25 percent from 1999 and 40 percent from 1998.

Stafford said some of the increase is due to a larger student population.

“Anytime your population increases, your number (of violations) is going to increase,” Stafford said.

Unlike at other universities that arrest students for underage drinking, Stafford said GW students suffer less serious consequences for alcohol violations when UPD officers catch them on campus, than when caught by MPD. University Police officers cannot arrest students for alcohol violations and must refer them to Student Judicial Services for charges.

“Students benefit from the judicial process,” Stafford said. “Imagine 600 students leaving GW with criminal records.”

The number of aggravated assaults reported increased more than any other crime last year, jumping from zero in 1999 to 21 in 2000. There were five aggravated assaults reported in 1998. Most of the assaults last year took place at the GW Hospital and did not involve students, Stafford said.

“Most of these were patients who injured someone in the hospital,” Stafford said.

Aggravated assault is defined as an attack, often with a weapon, which causes serious injury, according to the UPD Web site.

Burglary and larceny rates, the second most frequently reported crimes, were down slightly from the past two years. Almost 600 non-forcible burglaries and larcenies were reported with about one in 10 occurring in residence halls.

“The problems remain the same as last year,” Stafford said. “Obviously, theft when people leave their rooms and offices unlocked is a problem.”

Burglary is defined as the unlawful entry of a structure, such as a residence hall room, with the intention to steal, according to the UPD Web site. Larceny is theft without force or unlawful entry.

Stafford said theft on campus is much lower than it was in the mid-1990s.

“This is a significant reduction from ’95 or ’96 when we had almost 900 thefts in a year,” Stafford said.

She credits the decline to a change in entrance policies at Gelman Library. In the past, people who were not members of the GW community could access the building. Unattended belongings were often stolen.

The University of Pennsylvania reported 11 incidents of aggravated assault and 92 liquor law violations, according to the UPenn Web site.

Statistics for other schools in GW’s market basket such as New York, Boston and Tulane universities are not yet available for 2000.

“I think our statistics are comparable, or a little lower than other schools in our market basket,” Stafford said. “I haven’t seen where we’re higher.”

Campus Crime Statistics

2000 1999

Robbery 9 5
Aggravated Assault 21 0
Burglary 94 39
Forcible sex offenses 10 6
Larceny 498 538
Liquor law arrests 11 0
Liquor law violations 599 465
Drug law arrests 7 2
Drug law violations 43 46

Source: UPD Web site

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