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University of Maryland police database allows regional info sharing on campus pests

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Local,Education,Crime,Naomi Jagoda,University of Maryland

The University of Maryland College Park's police department has created a database that other colleges throughout the region can use to share information about people who have been banned from their campuses.

University police departments in the state have the ability to bar people who have been arrested for on-campus crimes, such as theft, robbery and assault. Police said that they were interested in sharing information about those who have been denied access to campuses because authorities have found that someone who commits a crime on one college campus may commit similar offenses at other schools.

"There are people who make a living off of college campuses," University of Maryland College Park Police Chief David Mitchell said. He noted that thieves might target colleges because students do not always watch over their possessions and because people may believe that students and their parents are rich.

A person who has been banned from one school can't be arrested simply for setting foot on the campus of a different school. But the database will make it harder for those who prey on college campuses "to apply their trade," said University of Maryland Baltimore County Police Chief Mark Sparks said.

"Anything that we can do to track the people who victimize multiple campuses we are all for," Sparks said.

A police officer at one school may get a suspicious-person call, run the subject's name in the database and learn that the person has been denied access to another campus, Mitchell said. As a result, the officer may then examine the suspicious person more closely and try to determine if he or she has committed crimes on the local campus.

"It's an investigative tool," Mitchell said.

The database began in the fall and is currently being introduced at schools in the University of Maryland system. Mitchell said that the plan is to then have other schools in the state and the D.C. area contribute to the database as well.

njagoda@washingtonexaminer.com

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