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.

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