Weekend Robberies Have Little Effect on FAMU Students

Despite having two robberies on campus in one weekend, many students are not fazed by the spike in criminal activity. And while robberies are serious, theft still predominates.

Senior computer engineering student Trenton Johnson was not surprised when he received a text message about the robberies.

“I’m not really shocked about stuff like that anymore,” said Johnson, 22 of Columbia, S.C. “I guess it’s bad. And I’m not going to try to justify it, but I’m just not surprised by it anymore. Maybe I’m desensitized to it.”

According to the Florida A&M Police Department’s public daily log, two robberies occurred on March 18 and March 20.

The March 18 robbery happened at 5:08 p.m. as many people were outside preparing to leave campus.

Ulyssa Hester, 20, a junior biology student from Stone Mountain, Ga., said that the Friday incident is scary because “you can’t predict that.” She admits that she does not feel any less safe on campus.

“This can happen anywhere,” Hester said. “And as long as you don’t open the door for opportunity, you’re less likely to have it happen to you.”

Hester’s statement echoes that of Sgt. Sherri Luke, FAMU PD’s crime prevention supervisor.

Luke said that students must become “a part of their own crime prevention” by eliminating the opportunity for crime.

“Crime’s like a triangle,” Luke said. “You got a suspect on one side. You got a victim on the other side, but the base of that triangle is opportunity. What we’re trying to do is remove that base.”

Although robberies are serious offenses, Luke argues that there are more frequent crimes that occur on campus – most notably petty theft.

Entries in FAMU PD’s daily log corroborate Luke’s assertions. From Jan. 3 to March 24, there were a total of 27 reported instances of petty theft and 26 occurrences of grand theft – while there were only three reported robberies.

According to the Florida Statutes Section 812.014, petty theft occurs “if the property stolen is valued at $100 or more, but less than $300,” while property stolen in a grand theft offense carries a price tag over $300.

In order to prevent theft victimization, Luke encourages students to keep their items with them at all times, always close and lock doors and get items engraved.

For more serious situations like the recent robberies, FAMU PD relies on the “e2” campus alert system to communicate with students. According to Luke, approximately 2,700 students are registered for the free service.

“I’ve had a lot of people tell me that ‘well my roommate’s signed up so I always get them’,” said Luke. “Everybody is so sure they’re going to get it because there’s enough people signed up. But there’s no reason why everybody shouldn’t sign up themselves. We are each responsible for our own safety.”

Luke states that the most important element of prevention is awareness. Being aware of one’s surroundings, walking in groups, utilizing the S.A.F.E. Team escorts and reporting crime are all proper precautions Luke says that students should take to remain safe.

Students can sign up for the “e2” campus alerts by visiting the campus police page of www.famu.edu, which can be accessed through the “Quick Links” section. For escorts, contact the S.A.F.E. Team at 599-3795.