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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Auto theft, drug violations top crime list for 2007”

    A man is arrested by UAPD on the UA Mall Feb. 14. According to police, the man was stealing books from the UofA Bookstore.
    A man is arrested by UAPD on the UA Mall Feb. 14. According to police, the man was stealing books from the UofA Bookstore.

    Anyone who has read the Daily Wildcat’s Police Beat knows which crimes tend to occur most often on campus: underage alcohol consumption, marijuana possession and thefts.

    The latter two represented the most noteworthy categories of offense in 2007, as auto thefts and drug violations hit decade highs last year.

    The peak in auto thefts – with 80 reported in 2007, 20 more than in 2006 – is likely due to immigrants coming up from Mexico to use cars for immigrant and drug smuggling, said Sgt. Eugene Mejia, the University of Arizona Police Department’s crime prevention supervisor and public information officer.

    There were 299 reported drug violations – not including alcohol – last year, up from 194 the previous year.

    UAPD’s first priority is to reduce violent crimes, Mejia said, while property theft is another concern.

    Theft is the most common crime committed on campus, although reported incidents hit a decade low last year. UAPD responded to 561 theft cases in 2007, compared to 617 in 2006 and 786 in 2001.

    “”We are working aggressively on educating people about reporting any suspicious activity,”” Mejia said.

    Assaults saw a dramatic increase from 2006 to 2007. There were 53 assaults reported in 2007, compared to 30 the previous year.

    “”We cannot pinpoint a factor in why the increase is so high. It could be better reporting or because there have been more events on campus,”” said Mejia, who added that there was also an increase in officers who were assaulted.

    Another large increase came in weapon violations: 13 in 2007 compared to 4 in 2006.

    Mejia considered the biggest crime of the year the homicide in Graham-Greenlee Residence Hall in September, resulting in the death of a student. It was the first reported UA homicide since 2002, when a nursing student killed three professors before committing suicide.

    “”In a situation like that, we need a quick response from the community,”” Mejia said of the Graham-Greenlee incident. “”There is no patrolling for homicide activity.””

    Mejia recommended that members of the campus community lock their cars, house windows and doors to prevent crimes, as well as walk with someone at night and avoid alcohol, especially if underage.

    “”We like to see an increase in reporting of suspicious activity,”” he said. “”The continuing change in population is a challenge for us here on campus.””

    “”The important thing is that we cannot do it alone,”” he said.

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