Drug violations saw 25 percent uptick in fall

The number of drug violations reported to the University Police Department increased last fall and has been steadily climbing every fall for the past three years, UPD data show.

Last semester, there were 65 reported drug law violations – a 25 percent spike from fall 2009, when 52 drug violations were reported to UPD. The fall semester of 2008 saw 42 drug violations, UPD Captain of Investigations and Special Operations Mark Balazik said.

“Marijuana is the most commonly abused substance on college campuses other than alcohol,” Balazik said. “Marijuana is prevalent in D.C. and is easy to buy.”

Balazik also said the increase in reported violations is directly related to the number of students who complain about the odor of marijuana smoke. He added that as a result of the jump in the number of reported violations, UPD officers have begun to self-initiate cases by patrolling residence halls.

Balazik said other drugs besides marijuana have been reported.

UPD data shows thefts and robberies increased 27 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Aside from alcohol and drug violations that occur within residence halls, the most recurring crime last semester was theft of unattended items, Balazik said.

The Marvin Center, Gelman Library and the Academic Center have seen the highest number of thefts, Balazik said, most frequently thefts of unattended items.

He added that robberies – when a suspect takes an item off of another subject’s person – also increased.

“Robberies have become more profitable for the perpetrators in more recent years,” Balazik said. “This is because more people are carrying electronic devices on their person and the values of these devices have increased dramatically.”

Although data show increases in drug violations, thefts and robberies, crime overall is down.

Total crime reported to UPD declined by 2 percent in fall 2010 compared to fall 2009. The number of cases of crime reported went from 1,132 to 1,113 last semester, from the start of July until the end of December.

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