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NAU's crime rate dropped in 2021

The Northern Arizona University campus in Flagstaff, Ariz.

Northern Arizona University’s crime rates plummeted in 2021 after reaching a record high the year before.

That's according to a federal law that mandates public colleges and universities submit crime and safety statistics each year.

According to NAU’s 2022 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, drug violations dropped drastically from 23 arrests in 2020 to just four in 2021 — an 82% decrease. Drug-related disciplinary referrals fell to zero compared to 149 the year prior.

That’s largely in part due to the passing of Prop 207, which legalized recreational marijuana in Arizona.

NAU receives federal funds, so students aren’t allowed to possess or use marijuana on campus since it's still illegal nationwide.

“We'll continue to adjudicate those cases, but they would be administrative violations and not crimes," Lara Fox, Clery compliance director for the NAU Police Department, said. "And that's why they would not appear in this in these statistics and in this report.”

On-campus burglaries and assaults decreased in 2021, as did the number of sexual assaults. However, incidents of stalking increased during the same period.

The university reported two instances of arson in 2021.

The federal Clery Act requires all colleges and universities that receive federal funding to report their crime rates, fire strategies and safety policies each year.

The report only captures on-campus crime and covers a three-year period.

Bree Burkitt is the host of Morning Edition and a reporter for KNAU. Contact her at