Safety in the Palmetto Street apartments has become a major concern within the last few months.
With reports of a carjacking in November and a sexual assault in January, students are seeking reassurance that their safety is a priority.
Because FAMU is an open campus, anyone in the city of Tallahassee has access to buildings and residential areas on campus, particularly the Palmetto Street apartments. In an effort to provide protection, certain safety precautions regulating visitation to campus housing developments have been implemented.
“We recently initiated unannounced, proactive deployments in the Palmetto area,” said John Lockley, assistant chief of police for the FAMU Police Department. “Anyone needing to access the area is asked to provide a valid identification card or Florida driver’s license.”
Although the identification checks are random and not continual, it is a step to creating a safer environment in the Palmetto Street apartments.
Additionally, the staff of the Palmetto Street apartments is also working hard to ensure safety.
“There are implemented rules for the complex,” said Charlynique Reynolds, 21, from Miami. “People who aren’t affiliated with the apartments need to be out by midnight, and this has improved since I’ve been here. Based on what I have seen I don’t think there are any improvements needed to be made.
“Policies have changed and improvements have been made. They both seem to be working well,” said the second-year resident of Palmetto South apartments.
Even with routine stops and a crackdown on visitation rights, residents of the Palmetto apartments said they feel that a constant police presence is essential.
“The only safety concern I have is that I usually don’t see any police unless they are called,” said Loren Wampler, 21, a naval science student and resident of Palmetto South for a little more than a year.
The police substation that used to be located in the Palmetto North area is now inactive.
Lockley said a “lack of manpower” is to blame.
Because there is no longer a police substation located in the Palmetto apartments students must now go to the main station located on Wahnish Way to report crimes or concerns.
However, emergency blue lights are located throughout the apartments for use when there is an emergency and a police officer needs to be contacted.
“Blue lights are checked and rechecked to ensure that they are operating properly,” Lockley said. “Lights that need maintenance or repair are bagged and reported for repair.” There are several more safety precautions that FAMU is taking to help students feel as safe and comfortable as possible.
“The FAMU Department of Public Safety has provided educational and crime prevention classes to residents of the entire campus,” Lockley said.
Lockley also said, “There is a group on campus that is looking into becoming a volunteer student escort team.”
This group will take the place of the S.A.F.E. Team, a now-defunct group of students who used to escort students around campus.
Also several safety tips are posted around Palmetto for residents to take into consideration…
A few of the safety tips include:* Always carry your ID and keys with you* Always lock your room door * Be aware of your surroundings and report suspicious people or things to campus police *. Walk with confidence * Walk with friends * Plan walk routes in advance, and look like you know where you are going * Be aware of the effects alcohol has on your ability to think clearly.