04/03/2012 12:21 pm ET Updated Jun 03, 2012

No Weed in My Backyard!

Sometimes, it seems like my cell phone is buzzing all night.

Tue Mar 20 9:23 pm: Shooting in the 300 block of W St, NE

Tue Mar 20 7:20 pm: Robbery force and violence in the 1900 block of I St NE

Tue Mar 20 5:57 pm: Robbery Gun 1100 block of Neal St, NE

Tue Mar 20 2:56 am: ROBBERY GUN __0215 HRS __ 3300 13th St, NE

Tue Mar 20 1:10 am: ROBBERY (GUN) __0042 HR__ RHODE ISLAND AVE&W ST. NE

The text messages, excerpted above and below, are announcing the latest string of robberies, shootings and stabbings here on the oft-mean streets of Northeast D.C. Signing-up for the crime alert messages from the local police district is an occupational hazard for me, since college presidents have an increasingly heavy burden to ensure campus security.

Sure, we have a great campus security team at Trinity, and they pay even closer attention to the neighborhood threats than I do, but the buzzing text messages through the night remind me that vigilance is truly a constant necessity.

Mon Mar 19 11:30 pm: 5D SHOOTING __ 2300 HRS__1500 BLK BENNING RD NE

Mon Mar 19 4:57 pm: Shooting in the 1000 block of Mt. Olivet Rd, NE

Mon Mar 19 2:07 pm: Shooting 19th and H Pl, NE

Sun Mar 19 3:24 am: STABBING _0230 HRS_3500 BLK 12TH STREET, NE

We spend more than $1 million on security at Trinity, or about 3% of our entire budget, and it never seems to be quite enough. Yet, if we consider what else we could do with that money --- funding more urgently-needed student scholarships, improving our facilities that are increasingly old, modernizing our academic technologies --- the fact that Trinity has to spend so much money on security can be infuriating. I've checked out the size of our security budget compared with similarly-sized colleges in other cities, and we're spending nearly twice as much. Why? My buzzing cell phone gives me all the reasons I need to know.

Sat Mar 17 8:04 pm: Robbery Force and Violence __1944 hours__1st and New York Ave NW

Fri Mar 16 11:40 pm: Robbery Knife __2318 hrs__Unit block N St NW

Fri Mar 16 9:00 pm: Robbery Gun__2036 hours__2400 block Franklin St NE

Fri Mar 16 6:20 pm: Robbery Gun 1000 Florida Ave NE

Fri Mar 16 5:23 am: Robbery __0502 hours__Rhode Island Ave/Florida Ave NW

So, with so much crime in our neighborhoods in Northeast D.C. imagine my surprise when I read that the District of Columbia government, in its infinite wisdom, has granted permits to not one, but six companies to grow medical marijuana right here in the great Northeast.

Ok, I get it, some gravely ill people may truly benefit from this drug. I'm all in favor of anything to relieve the pain of those suffering terminal illness. I'm not opposed to the concept of medical marijuana, a debate I leave to medical experts.

But seriously, with the tremendous wave of crime already coursing through our neighborhood streets, does the D.C. government really think that we need SIX marijuana growing centers right here?

Street crime is rising rapidly this year in D.C., with gun-related robberies skyrocketing. Chief Lanier and MPD have their hands quite full already. Do they really need more work?

Regardless of the ultimate purpose of the weed, let's face facts: for every person whose pain will be relieved by the work of WeGrow, other people are likely to suffer the ill effects of increased crime opportunities with the temptation of so many "legal" marijuana plants so irresistibly close by. Does D.C. really need to be known as the home of the "Walmart of Weed" as USA Today gleefully reported?

I'd complain about this to my D.C. Councilmember, but as I was looking up his phone number, I remembered that Ward 5 doesn't have its own elected official right now, the previous incumbent being on his way to jail. I know the at-large Councilmembers will hasten to assure me that they planned for everything, that all will be well, that I should not be so worried. But they all voted in favor of the law, unanimously, with no debate.

Excuse me, my cell phone is buzzing...

Thu Mar 22 12:40 am: 1D ROBBERY GUN 0018 HRS_ 400 BLK NEW JERSEY AVE NE

Wed Mar 21 9:28 pm: Stabbing in the 400 block of Rhode Island Ave NE

Wed Mar 21 12:20 am: Robbery __ 2345 hrs __ 2800 31st PL NE