Campus police need more help

Crime rates on campus have dropped significantly in recent years.

However, the shooting incident that occurred in the Student Services Building more than a month ago and the recent acts of vandalism in two dormitories have left some students questioning their safety.

According to FAMU’s 2004 crime report, crime has decreased, enrollment has increased and the number of police officers has stayed the same.

In 2001, 54 forcible sex, robbery and aggravated assault crimes were reported.

In 2002 and 2003 about 23 of these crimes were reported. Only 15 such crimes were reflected in the 2004 report.

Still, some students said they believe that some crimes have not diminished.

“Certain crimes have gone down, but not all,” said Paul Graham, a junior health education student from Vero Beach.

“I feel like rape crimes have gone down, but larceny should still have a high rate on the report.”

Graham, 20, who recently had his cell phone stolen, said most campus crimes occur at night and the police should make there presence known during that time.

Graham said he is not afraid to walk on campus at night, but he does worry about where he parks his car and how long he will be away from that area.

Other students said they feel that FAMUPD could increase its presence.

Tiffany Zow, a sophomore pre-med student from Baltimore, said that the police gets some of their tips from students and they do not check to see how accurate the facts are before they investigate.

Even though most students believe the police department needs improvement, others feel that they are maintaining safety on and off campus.

“I feel extremely safe on campus,” said Joe Lawson, 21.

“I feel like the FAMU Police does a good job. I’m not worried about anyone doing any harm to me.”

The junior business administration student from Jacksonville said people are always going to steal and there is nothing the police could really do other than punish the individual after the incident.

Johnnie Stroy, 23, a senior math education student, agreed.

“I generally feel safe on campus. Although there have been a few incidents that have taken place at FAMU, students should not assume that these reflect the normal activities at the school.”

Stroy, a member of the S.A.F.E. (Students available for escort) Team, said students should be the extra eyes and ears on campus.

“Everyone should have someone to walk with at night whether it is a S.A.F.E Team member or someone else.” “It’s better to be in the company of someone else when you are walking at night,” Stroy said.

FAMU Police Chief Calvin Ross wants students to know that prevention of crime does not stop with the police officers.

“We want to try and get the entire FAMU community involved in crime prevention, and let them know that it’s their responsibility as well as others,” Ross said.

Ross said that the police department has focused its attention on two fronts.

The first being a strong prevention initiative to educate the campus community to the prevention of crime, and to recognize the various things that leads to victimization and how to avoid those things.

“We have also stressed the message of being aware of your surroundings while you are outside of the campus,” Ross said.

Over time, the chief said that they have seen an increase in the number of students, faculty and visitors.

However, the number of law officers have remained the same and even decreased. To make up for the deficit, the police department is using better techniques and technology.

Many police officers are now being stationed in the dorms, around the cafeteria, on the Set and numerous other areas to monitor the campus.

The Florida Highway Patrol gave the campus police a Mobile Command Vehicle to allow greater access to certain functions on campus. The vehicle will also allow them to save time in reaching emergencies, and to communicate more effectively with the main command center.

Contact Sarah Chester at