Larceny, drug abuse violations increase at GV

Rachel Cross

The Grand Valley State University Allendale and Pew campuses both experience some degree of crime, but differ because of their environments.

Capt. Brandon DeHaan, assistant director of the Grand Valley Police Department, said larceny is the No. 1 reported crime across all universities. According to the Annual Security Fire and Safety Report of 2012, the number of reported thefts on campus has jumped from 83 in 2009 to 140 in 2011 for the Allendale campus.

DeHaan also said it is challenging to determine specific trends to identify with crime at GVSU because a large chunk of the population, approximately 15 to 25 percent, changes every year. This change is due to incoming freshman, transfer students and graduates.

“Our crime statistics vary from year to year, however we do look at trends that are occurring in high schools, which may translate into what students carry over to college,” DeHaan said.

One trend in high schools that he has seen is an increase in marijuana use by students.

Drug abuse violation arrests at GVSU have gone up from 34 in 2009 to 63 in 2011.

DeHaan said that overall, the crime rate at GVSU is comparatively low to other campuses that are similar in size.

The university’s Pew Campus reported 21 larcenies and 2 drug abuse violations in 2011.

Russell Wolff, director of security at the Pew Campus Security and Regional Center, said high school trends don’t generally transfer over to the Pew campus because their residents are mainly upperclassmen or nontraditional students. Pew campus has only two housing facilities including Secchia and Winter Hall, with just 30 freshmen living on campus.

“The environment is a lot different here than in Allendale,” Wolff said. “The Pew campus is in an urban setting, which comes with gangs and homeless people. We have more concerns with homeless people on campus, as well as young people in the surrounding areas committing larcenies. In a way, we’re similar to the Allendale campus but in another way we’re quite different.”

Wolff said he tries to educate students on the Pew campus about urban settings and urban issues.

“I have younger college kids used to urban settings and don’t seem to struggle,” Wolff said. “I have students from smaller towns in a rural community that have more trouble, I have different reactions depending on the environment the student comes from.”

For further information on crime statistics, go to and click on “Crime Statistics” under quick links. To call GVPD in Allendale or Pew Campus Security, contact (616) 331-3255 or 616-331-6677, respectively.
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