The UConn Police Department said it has noticed a trend of more arrests for drug possession in the first few weeks of the spring semester than any other time of the year.
There were nine arrests for charges of drug possession from the beginning of January through Feb. 5, Deputy Chief Andrew Fournier said, compared to a total of 11 arrests for drug possession for the entire Fall 2017 semester.
Fournier said these numbers are similar to what he has been seeing in past years. He said in the same time frame for the spring 2017 semester, there were seven arrests and a total of 17 for the entire semester. There were 12 arrests for drug possession during the fall 2017 semester, making it approximately equal to the number of arrests made in the rest of spring semester after early February.
Fournier said he cannot name a specific factor that has been causing this trend.
“There is not one particular factor that I could point for reasoning,” Fournier said. “Some of the variables may be dependent on the community or time of year, other variables may be affected by police staffing or calls for service.”
Fournier said that he has seen a drop in the number of arrests made for driving while intoxicated since 2013. Fournier said these arrests dropped by about 40 percent in 2013.
“Again, it’s challenging to point to a single contributing factor, but I believe more people in our community begin utilizing ride sharing and sober drivers during times of higher levels of typical DWI arrests,” Fournier said.
There were a total of 1,488,707 drug abuse violation arrests in 2015 according to the FBI, constituting 13.8 percent of total arrests for the year. In 2017, narcotics arrests accounted for 11 percent of all arrests by UCPD, according to Fournier.
83.9 percent of drug abuse violation arrests made in the U.S. in 2015 were for possession according to data from the FBI.
The largest percentage of these arrests were for marijuana, 38.6 percent, followed by heroin or cocaine and their derivatives at 19.9 percent.
All but one arrest made by UCPD from January through Feb. 5 involved marijuana. Several included the possession of other narcotics such as LSD, mushrooms, ecstasy or pills in addition to marijuana according to Fournier.
The slight uptick in arrests for possession of hallucinogens this semester does not appear to reflect any shifting trends in drug use and arrests, Fournier said.