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Campus Safety

In response to a series of off-campus incidents at nearby apartment complexes that house some of our students, MTSU has worked closely with the City of Murfreesboro in recent months to develop strategies to improve safety at these complexes and reduce criminal activity.

While MTSU has no authority over these off- campus apartment complexes, the University does recognize that many of these nearby complexes, while marketed to students, are becoming increasingly populated by non-students and are rented by the bedroom rather than full apartments.

Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland and I, along with city and University officials, have met directly with complex owners and managers in recent months to discuss our concerns. We’re pleased that some complexes have already increased safety measures such as adding security guard check-ins at main entrances.

I have worked directly with Mayor McFarland and his administration to develop a number of proposals, including a pending agreement that would allow our University Police Department to support and assist Murfreesboro Police as requested by the city in off-campus areas.

It would likely start with MTSU Police aiding inspections of complexes as part of a safety program that also is being developed. MTSU Police Chief Buddy Peaster is working with Murfreesboro Police Chief Karl Durr on this effort.

This safety program would allow apartment managers to invite police to assess security measures and practices in place at their complexes. Facilities that meet criteria and implement recommended best practices for safety would be eligible for a special emblem that could be displayed to prospective tenants.

The city is also working on an easy-to-read online resource so that prospective students and parents can quickly see how many police calls and violent crimes have been recorded at complexes on a quarterly and annual basis.

In addition, the city and University group is working to allow city police to refer criminal and noncriminal cases involving students off campus to the University’s Office of Student Conduct for review under MTSU’s Code of Conduct.

MTSU Police employs 44 full-time officers, five full- time dispatchers, and about 20 part-time student workers to patrol MTSU’s 500-plus-acre campus. Our officers are commissioned, have full arrest powers, and meet the same employment and training requirements as other law enforcement in Tennessee. The University has put forward several proactive and preventive actions in recent years to reduce crime, including more security cameras, improved campus lighting, increased foot patrols, and community policing, as well as public awareness campaigns through Student Health Services and MTSU Housing and Residential Life.

The latest campus crime statistics from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation show drops in most major categories at MTSU. The annual TBI report showed the number of sexual offenses reported dropped from seven in 2015 to two in 2016, weapon law violations remained the same (with four reported in both years), theft/larceny was down 18 percent, assaults decreased 20 percent, DUI went down 50 percent, burglary incidents fell 47 percent, and trespass declined by 77 percent.

Campus Safety Update Spring 2017

Students Amanda Leachman and Ginny Whaley talking to MTSU Police officers Jason Hicks and Adam Wortman.

Students Amanda Leachman and Ginny Whaley talking to MTSU Police officers Jason Hicks and Adam Wortman.

Our University Police officers have been hard at work implementing some new campus safety initiatives to help broaden and sustain a safe environ- ment at MTSU. These efforts are assisted by other on-campus departments such as Campus Planning, Facilities, Student Affairs, and ITD. Some of the new or expanded services and developments include:

•Additional walking patrols by officers during the evening hours especially in the higher trafficked areas of campus

•Two additional Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) officers
who focus on positively interacting with students, patrolling residence halls, providing crime prevention programming on campus, and being available to help faculty, students, staff, and visitors with any concerns or issues

•Reintroduction of Emergency Call Box/Call Stations to be located in various areas around campus

• More exterior surveillance cameras around the Floyd Stadium/Murphy Center complex area, with more planned for the Womack Lane Apartments

•Replacement of security guards with University Police Raider Patrol to provide a bigger security presence, encourage more community engagement and cooperation, and emphasize consistent security processes and communication

• Emphasis and focus on more safety-conscious educational programs like Active Shooter Response training for student, staff, and faculty including redesigned Fact Cards and updated information on MTSU’s Alert 4U website

•Hiring and implementation of a sexual assault intervention liaison to increase advocacy for victims of sexual or dating violence and to maximize the ability of victims to receive resources including support from campus or local police.

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