University makes annual crime statistics public

Students, faculty and staff of Florida A&M University are now able to request a copy of the universities annual crime report.

Requests, however, are currently available for this year and the previous three years. The service is provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Under the federal law, it is a requirement for universities to adhere to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.

This act was implemented in order to disclose information of campus security and crime that occur on campus in a timely matter.

Chief Calvin Ross of the FAMU Police Department said that daily crime reports are located in the lobby of the police station. Students may also view the annual reports via e-mail at FAMU’s Web site under public safety. Ross said the daily crime logs will be accessible on the Web soon.

In order to keep FAMU’s crime rate low, various crime prevention programs like the S.A.F.E. Team, which provides escorts for students to and from on-campus locations at night, and the operation identification program, which is used to help prevent theft, have been enacted. With the operation identification program, valued property is engraved with the owner’s identification for detection purposes. This service is free of charge and is offered by the Department of Public Safety.

In conjunction with Florida State University, FAMU offers Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) training to women to teach them self-defense techniques. This program is not only offered to students, but to staff and members of the community as well.

Clarissa Grissette, 20, a sophomore criminal justice student from Fort Lauderdale said she had not been informed about the different programs available.

“I was unaware of the crime prevention programs offered here at FAMU,” Grissette said. “Now knowing that there are better ways to make me feel safe, I feel better about FAMU as a university.”

During the school year, the crime rate is the highest between the months of August and December. Ross said this is due to high enrollment during the fall semester, and the fact that students are engaged in more activities during these months.

“When there are more people [on campus], more crime happens,” Ross said.

According to reports from the last three years, larceny is the leading crime on campus. The reported number of cases involving larceny for 2004 reached 275.

In 2005, the number of reports increased to 354, then fell to 254 in 2006.

Although the numbers may seem high, Ross said that, “for a university comparable in size, FAMU’s crime rate is low.”

In addition to the various programs FAMU has put in place to prevent crime, the university has also developed various ways to notify students of crimes that occur on campus. Some of these include the Federal Warning System, e2campus emergency notification, emergency telephone blue lights and Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV).

FAMU is the first school in the state university system with the Emergency Warning System. There are two sirens located on campus. One is located on the band’s practice field, and the other is located behind the Dyson Pharmacy Building. The sirens help to warn students and staff of serious safety issues.

“It is important that students not only have this information available but how to access it is just as important,” Ross said. “We will periodically send an e-mail to the community to let them know the availability [of the report], and how to access it.”