Liquor law violations dropped by 38 percent and alcohol arrests fell by 78 percent in 2002, according to crime statistics released last week by University Police.
Brian Hamluk, director of the Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education, attributed the substantial decline to the parental notification system and promotion of alcohol awareness in campus programs.
Beginning in spring 2002, GW sends letters home when a student received an alcohol violation. Previously, parents were only informed if their child was hospitalized for excessive alcohol consumption.
“It’s a good law,” said Rodney Johnson, special assistant to the vice president for Student and Academic Support Services. “Students don’t think it is a good law, but when they are parents they will understand. I feel much more comfortable with parents being notified.”
The University gave CADE grants totaling $95,000 for alcohol education programs such as freshman awareness at Colonial Inauguration.
“I think students have a heightened awareness of (Metropolitan Police’s) crackdown on alcohol,” Hamluk said. “They have been aggressive in bars, clubs and other public places.”
In 2002, students received 361 liquor law violations, down from 583 in 2001. Alcohol-related arrests decreased from 31 in 2001 to seven in 2002.
UPD took nine months to review and classify the 2002 crime statistics and released the numbers last week on its Web site, http://gwired.gwu.edu/ upd. Statistics include crimes committed on the Foggy Bottom campus and public property on and off campus. Mount Vernon Campus statistics are compiled separately.
Thefts rose 26 percent from 2001 to 2002. UPD Chief Dolores Stafford attributed the increase to students leaving property unattended.
“We need to keep this on the forefront of students’ minds. You can walk into J Street at any given time in the week and see belongings unattended,” she said.
Wallets and purses were the most common items stolen, with approximately 200 reports filed in 2002, while laptops were the third most frequently stolen items with 42 incidents reported. A majority of these laptops were lifted from public areas such as Gelman Library and the Marvin Center.
Stafford said UPD programs, including Operation I.D., which engraves valuable belongings for students for free, and the Rip-off Card – a card UPD officers leave next to unattended property warning students that it could have been stolen – promote theft awareness.
“Information is key, and we are trying to get that out to students,” she said. “If they have the facts, hopefully it will encourage them to take more responsibility for their personal property.”
Sex-related crimes such as assault and rape decreased from 15 in 2001 to 11 in 2002, which Stafford credits to students being more careful.
“We have not increased our UPD staff; it is because of student behavior. They are looking out for each other more,” she said.
Drug law violations showed little movement, with 89 cases reported in 2001 and 86 in 2002.
UPD reported 131 vandalism cases in 2002. Numbers for 2001 were unavailable because UPD is not required by law to compile vandalism statistics.
“Other students ultimately pay,” Stafford said. “The more things that are damaged intentionally and maliciously, the more it costs us to repair. (Vandalism) is a sporadic crime, and we need to bring it to the attention of students so it will be reported.”
A majority of vandalism acts are committed while students are intoxicated, she said. Last month, at least two students from the University of Richmond wrote “GW sucks” and “Fuck GW” on the walls of several floors in Thurston Hall.
The University first reported the students were from Georgetown University, but a review of the security tapes showed that the students are from Richmond.