Crime on and around Florida A&M’s campus is rising. For the past two weekends, robberies and gunfire have been reported and FAMU Department of Public Safety officials say that crooks are emerging as spring begins.
“When it gets warmer, more people come out. The more people that come out, the more crime you have,” said Lt. Angela Kirkland. “Criminals believe that students are easy targets; this is because when most students arrive on campus they have what we like to call “youthful inexperience.””
According to the FAMU Police Depatment’s public daily log, two robberies were reported on March 18 and 20, and on April 2, shots were reportedly fired at Bragg Stadium.
Due to the recent reports of robbery and gunfire, FAMU PD plans to increase the number of patrolling officers to monitor the area.
“Because of the sudden rise of crime, we have decided to beef up the number of patrols that are in the streets. We call it the enhancement program,” Kirkland said. “We have added four officers and placed them in hot spots. These are areas where we have had problems in the past or where problems can occur,” said Kirkland.
Despite the increase in crime on campus and around the university community, students still feel safe.
“I always feel safe,” said Charles Daniels, 21, a junior criminal justice student from Sarasota. “I feel like FAMU PD is doing a great job carrying out their duties and being responsive to students.”
Mary Nathan, 21, a social work student from Tampa, agrees with Daniels.
“I feel safe and secure on campus,” Nathan said. “I believe the police department is doing what they can to keep the crime rate on campus low.”
Kirkland said one way that students and faculty can be informed about crimes happening on and around campus is by signing up with e2 campus, FAMU’s emergency notification system.
E2 campus is a self-service, web-based, mass notification system that empowers the FAMU Department of Public Safety to send instant alerts to all students, faculty and staff’s cell phones, emails and web pages.
“The alert system has been very good at allowing us to get info out quicker to students and faculty,” Kirkland said.
Daniels believes that the e2 campus system is one of the main reasons he feels safe on campus.
“The new text messaging alert system that the university has offered has been very helpful since I registered,” Daniels said. “It always keeps me informed on what is going on around campus as it relates to crime and safety.”
Although the e2 campus alert system is considered by Kirkland to be very beneficial, there are only 2,700 users registered out of the more than 13,000 students at FAMU.
“There are a lot of faculty and staff that are signed up with the e2 campus system,” Kirkland said. “I want to see students as well as parents take advantage of the program.”
There are a number of preventive measures students and faculty can do to remain safe.
“Most crimes happen at night so it’s important to have fun in safe environments and be aware of your surroundings,” said Kirkland. “Also there is safety in numbers so it’s a good idea to walk in a group.”