Campus crime rates go up as guests arrive

Homecoming brings celebration, excitement and alumni, but the Florida A&M Police Department is preparing for an increase in crime as the crowds flock in town.

“For the past three years, serious crimes on campus have been moderately low,” said Lt. Norman Rollin of the FAMU department of safety.

FAMU’s police department is a 24-hour agency with 25 to 40 police officers and Rollins has been working there for the past 16 years.

“I don’t see an increase of crime on campus,” Rollins said. “Perhaps for a student, it may appear that there is an increase, especially with the recent shooting at the first home football game this year.”

Josh Hankins, 20, a third-year business administration student from Raleigh, N.C., said FAMU could use more police officials.

“If there were more police visible on campus, I feel there would be less crimes committed,” Hankins said.

Although the safety department is a relatively small agency, Rollins believes FAMU’s police officers are prepared for this year’s homecoming.

“We are always concerned with homecoming,” Rollins said. “The
population increases because it’s not only an invitation to the alumni but to the whole southeast.”

Janae Crockett, 19, a second -year elementary education student from Miami, is less optimistic about crime during homecoming.

“I believe crime will increase during homecoming because people let their guards down,” Crockett said. “People have visitors from out of town and crime can happen just by association.

Calvin Ross, FAMU’s chief of police, said the FAMU police department has plans to ensure safety for this year’s homecoming.

“We have special initiatives in order to maintain a level of safety for students and visitors,” Ross said. “With the assistance of students, we will be able to maintain a safe and festive environment during homecoming week.”

Basiyr King, 22, a graduating marketing student from Philadelphia, agrees with Crockett.

“Crime increases but security also increases,” King said. “The people who come bring [theft] and violence, especially if alcohol is involved.”

Ross said when there are large gatherings such as homecoming; there are more opportunities for crime.

“During homecoming, the most common crime is theft,” Ross said. “It’s important to maintain your belongings, such as cell phones and other electronic devices because they are easy targets.”

Rollins suggests some of the best safety tips are walking in groups, planning an itinerary in advance, stay in well-lit areas and refraining from flashing large amounts of money.