Increased drug violations may be due to more patrol

Sabreena Saleem

The increase in drug law violations, as reported in the 2015-2016 Annual Safety and Security Report, may be a result of increased patrolling, said NIU Police Chief Tom Phillips.

The report, which was published in compliance with the Clery Act, among other acts, shows rises from 2013 to 2014 in criminial offenses including arson, sexual offenses and aggravated assaults, with drug law violations showing the largest increase.

According to the report, there were 48 reported drug law violations in 2012, 54 in 2013 and 113 in 2014.

“It’s really not [a lot] when you consider the fact that we have over 20,000 students,” Phillips said. “Some things have changed. In 2014 we started patrolling a lot more outside of the residence halls.”

Philips also said the Department of Police and Public Safety has increased collaboration with the DeKalb Police Department.

“I don’t think it indicated increased drug use. We’re being more proactive and trying to address the problem,” he said.

Students who are caught with drugs can recieve judicial referrals, whereas non-students must be dealt with by the police. The number of judicial referrals for drug violations has also risen since 2012 — when 207 were reported — to 345 in 2013 and 401 in 2014.

Phillips also said tickets and ordinances, not just arrests, are included in the report’s numbers.

“The increase — although it’s there — it’s not as much as it seems,” Phillips said.

This isn’t the first time drug law violations have doubled at NIU. Marijuana arrests and judicial referrals involving marijuana nearly doubled from 2006 to 2007, according to an Oct. 1, 2008 Northern Star article.