CDS crime rate inches higher on campus
Public Safety has been busy dealing with drug-related issues this fall semester.
According to the consolidated crime log, open for viewing by the public at all times, 21 Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) crime incidents have been reported during the fall 2015 semester. Most but not all incidents have been reports relating to marijuana possession and usage. Two students within the week ending Dec. 9 alone were caught with possession of marijuana.
In comparison, fall 2014 saw 19 CDS crime incidents, while spring 2015 saw 14 incidents— confirming that drug-related crimes on campus have seen a slight rise this academic year.
Gary Christie, assistant director of Public Safety and Security, said, “There has been a spike in activity the past few months but I can’t say that this is part of a long lasting trend.”
He that Public Safety’s way of combating this issue is by placing the focus on “enforcement and education.” Christie says that Public Safety makes an effort to keep the conversation open about the consequences of on-campus drug usage.
Within the past year, surveillance cameras have been installed campus-wide with the intention of catching and taking action against the rise in drug usage. Currently, Public Safety plans to expand the video surveillance system.
“Cameras are a terrific investigative tool and have helped to solve many incidents over the years both on campus and off,” Christie said. “They are also a deterrent to people with bad intentions who realize that their actions may be captured on film, and so they go elsewhere to commit their crimes.”
Alexandra Henderson, a junior who is an art history major, says the rise in drug-related crimes concerns her but does not personally affect her.
“I think it’s a problem, but as to my safety, I’m not conscious of it every day,” Henderson said. “I don’t personally feel unsafe.”
When asked what residence assistants and desk assistants are trained to do if they suspect a student is in possession of or has been using drugs, a Boland Hall desk assistant said the procedure was confidential. When asked the same question, a Cabrini Hall desk assistant said that they are instructed to “take it and call a supervisor.”
Punishment for CDS crimes is handled on a case-by-case basis, factoring in the type of drug, the quantity found and evidence of dealing. Depending on the severity of the crime, the University can decide to take away the student’s privilege to live in University housing, place the student on probation, or remove the student from the University altogether.
While SHU is typically able to handle these issues on the University level, it has potential for police contact.
“If someone is suspected of dealing, we may contact the police and they may face arrest,” Christie said. “In those cases, the individual will have to answer in court as well as in the University judiciary system.”
Not all students feel that the drug-related crime rate is a problem. Emily Lavallee, sophomore political science major, says Seton Hall focuses too much on the drug issues and not enough on other issues on campus.
“There are so many issues at hand that we can put our energy into, like sexual harassment,” Lavallee said. “The drug issue is not as big of a deal or as dangerous as other things on campus.”
Rob Gluck, a sophomore biology major, says he does not see the point in focusing on marijuana usage.
“We’re focusing on people using marijuana which in contrast to other things is so unimportant,” Gluck said. “It’s something that people are putting effort into trying to stop when in parts of the country it’s been legalized.”
At this time, New Jersey does not have any public plans for legalizing marijuana usage for recreational purposes.
Brianna Bernath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.