Students’ reactions to security on and off campus

Blue light emergency system located on FAMU's campus with Gibbs Hall
in the rear. | Photo credit: Amari Godwin

While there has been a lack of security at off campus housing facilities, students at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU) have voiced their concerns about safety off campus in comparison to on campus.   

First semester students with less than 30 semester hours are required to utilize university housing, which provides students an opportunity to experience community living on campus.

However, students seeking to live off campus have the opportunity to live in student apartments, but are these apartments necessarily safe?

Javier Johnson is a junior visual and performing arts student who said he believes that he is safer living on campus than off campus. Johnson previously lived in Gibbs Hall when he lived on campus and now resides at The Commons.  

“I wish student apartments would improve on the amount of security on the premises and actually patrol the complexes day and night to try to eliminate the amount of break-ins, hit and runs, and shootings,” Johnson said.

FAMU has procedures in place to insure the safety of its students – the FAMU police department, blue light emergency systems, circuit television cameras, and campus security that offers assistance whenever a student feels in danger.

“Even though things can happen anywhere and your safety isn’t always guaranteed wherever you go, being on campus I know that I can call FAMU police and they will come to me right away,” Johnson said.

While there has been an increase in crimes around student apartments, there has also been an increase in hit and runs and break-ins.

La’Shay Jerelds is a junior child psychology student who said the number of break-ins, and hit and runs in her apartment complex at Seminole Grand is ridiculous and it needs to be stopped.

“Unfortunately I have witnessed residents’ cars get hit by someone who doesn’t even live here. It’s so sad because the people who are doing these things don’t even care that they are damaging other people’s property and it’s not right,” Jerelds said.

“We shouldn’t have to feel unsafe in our own homes. We pay to live here, the least the staff of the apartment could do is make sure their residents feel safe,” Jerelds continued.

Previously, Jerelds lived in FAMU Village when she lived on campus.

Students should also consider being aware the security measures of an apartment complex prior to signing a lease. Students like Joanna Atkinson, who is a junior elementary education student, said students who are looking to move off campus should conduct research.

“Tour the apartments and visit the complex at night to make sure you’re comfortable being there in the dark,” Atkinson said.

Atkinson previously lived in Paddyfote Complex when she lived on campus and now resides at College Club.

“Also be sure to ask around to see if anyone you know lived there to get their living experiences in that particular complex. Make sure you do all of this before you sign your lease because it’s legally binding, and once you’re in it, you’re in it,” Atkinson said.

For any questions and information regarding safety procedures on campus, you can visit the Department of Safety and Security in Suite 128 at 2400 Wahnish Way or the Tallahassee Police Department at 850-891-4200.