Campus safety report shows substance abuse on the rise

By By Michael McFall

By Michael McFall

If the U started its own zodiac, 2008 is the year of the druggies and drunks.

Every October, the U Police Department reports how much crime it logged the previous year. On Friday, it released the 2008 Campus Safety Report, and half of the eight significant crime categories went up8212;the other six categories in the report rarely have more than a single incident. Most of the increases and decreases were mild, with one exception: drug-related arrests.

U Police arrested more people in 2008 for possession of illegal drugs on and off campus property than in 2006 and 2007 combined.

“I don’t know the precise reason for the drug increases,” said Capt. Lynn Mitchell.

Although drug arrests had a huge increase compared to any other type of crime, liquor violations still rule the school, as they have for years. Few crimes occur more than 30 times a year, but liquor violations accounted for 177 crimes in 2008, an increase since last year and an average number for the past few years, according to the report.

This past fiscal year, total state revenues from alcohol went up $10 million despite an 11 percent increase in operating expenses, according to a Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control report. Consumption of alcohol is also up, according to the report. This comes on the heels of the Legislature’s relaxation of Utah’s liquor-sale laws during its spring session.

U Police said they aren’t worried about a connection.
“I don’t see a reason for increase in violations because of the change in the laws,” Mitchell said.

Most forms of theft around the U went down last year after it boomed in 2007, the year the United States went into a recession. Burglary and breaking into cars to steal possessions both went down a few instances, though there was only one more robbery in 2008 compared to 2007.

U Police won’t be altering their law enforcement techniques or emphasis based on the report’s shifting numbers, Mitchell said.

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