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Clery Act Report: NIU sees spike in burglaries

DeKALB – Northern Illinois University saw an increase in burglaries and judicial referrals for drug law violations between 2010 and 2011, according to the university’s 2012 Clery Act Report.

In 2010, NIU reported 12 on-campus burglaries. In 2011, there were 26 reports of burglary – a 116 percent increase from the previous year.

NIU spokesman Brad Hoey speculated the increase came from a spike in vehicle break-ins DeKalb was experiencing in fall 2011.

In October 2011, NIU police arrested a man who admitted to breaking into more than 70 cars in DeKalb County, including vehicles parked on university property.

The Clery Act requires universities such as NIU to publish its crime statistics every year.

The information includes how many crimes were reported on campus and how many arrests or referrals were made in regards to liquor, drugs and weapon violations.

The university also reported an 88 percent increase in the number of judicial referrals the university gave out for drug violations. In 2010, NIU officials issued 108 referrals for violations relating to marijuana, cocaine and other narcotics. In 2011, NIU officials issued 203 referrals.

Instead of arresting students, NIU Police and university officials can issue judicial referrals which require the offending student to visit the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct.

NIU Police Sgt. Alan Smith said an officer’s decision to arrest or refer a student is ultimately at the officer’s discretion. But the officer is more likely to arrest someone if the student already has been referred to CSSC for a similar offense, or if the student is being uncooperative.

Smith said he did not have any definite answers for why the referrals increased, but there are factors that can contribute to that. He said there could be an increase in drug use amongst NIU students, but added that with 72 police officers involved with the campus on a regular basis, there might be people who are more comfortable talking with them.

“By building relationships, we get a lot of calls about things going on,” Smith said.

Smith also said officials in the residential halls, like community advisers and hall directors, can issue referrals.

“They don’t have to see the drug,” Smith said. “They can smell it and refer it to [CSSC].”

NIU is bound by law to publish those statistics, but the report also displays the numerous ways the university tries to keep its students safe, Hoey said.

If a student is walking alone at night, the report advises the student to call Huskie Patrol or Late Night Ride – two different escort services that will either walk with or drive the student to his or her destinations.

“One of the things that we’ve made an effort to do is highlight the safety and security resources available on campus,” Hoey said. “That is one of the things I’m most impressed with [in] this report.”

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