Police say a high population of students in Statesboro may be to blame for Bulloch County’s
high robbery rate.
“Any high percentage we have is probably going to be due to the demographics involved in the
college,” Justin Samples, Statesboro Police Department Officer, said. “College students tend to
make better targets for criminals because they’re out on their own for the first time.”
Of the 17 Georgia counties with the most similar population count, Bulloch has the fifth
highest number of robberies from 2010 to 2012. Over that three-year period 188 robberies were
committed in Bulloch County.
Seven of those 17 counties have a university or one very close by.
“A lot of criminals take advantage of the area because of the lower cost of living around the
complexes around the campus,” Samples said. He said that with the affordable housing options
designed for the student population of Bulloch County, it makes it easier for criminals to live in
the area and commit crimes.
Jared Akins, Bulloch County Chief Deputy, said that the first two years of college are a learning
experience for new students that may not be aware of the possible dangers that surround them.
“You have a fairly vulnerable population. You have a fairly easy escape route because if I’m on
foot and I’m in an apartment complex, I can get most anywhere before you can even get on the
phone and call 911 after the fact,” Akins said.
For law enforcement, robbery is when a criminal confronts someone to steal from them. The
three categories of robbery are strong arm, armed and sudden snatch, Samples said.
Strong arm robbery is when the perpetrator uses their physical intimidation to subdue the
victim while an armed robbery is when the perpetrator uses a weapon. A sudden snatch is when
someone’s property is quickly yanked from his or her possession.
The most common types of robbery in Bulloch County involve a victim who is robbed on foot by
a perpetrator on foot, delivery drivers who are robbed, or a drug deal gone bad.
Many people may be robbed during drug deals because the perpetrator believes that a victim who
had their illegal drugs taken from them is less likely to call the police, Samples said.
Even if Bulloch County’s rate of robbery is higher than some similar Georgia counties, it
does no good for the community to be fearful, Barbara King, professor of criminal justice and
“The actual rate is not as important as the perception. When crime is perceived as being high
or increasing…levels of fear increase. This perception also can exacerbate the problem, if it
depresses community activity and involvement,” King said in an email. “If residents retreat
indoors and community trust and interactions decrease, this could make the community more
vulnerable to criminal influence.”
Seven of the 188 robberies in Bulloch County from 2010 to 2012 happened on Georgia Southern
Students can carry pepper spray on campus, but no stun guns or Tasers. State law prohibits
firearms from being brought on campus, Michael Russell, Chief of GSU’s Department of Public
In order to decrease the number of robberies every year, local police increase patrols near student
housing areas over holiday breaks.
“Thanksgiving, Christmas break is always bad for residential burglaries because everyone goes
home and the crooks know that,” Akins said.
“One approach might be to map the incidences of robbery to find out when and where the most
activity is located, then concentrate more resources in those areas,” King said. “Also, increasing
lighting and other changes to the environment to help increase surveillance could prove useful.”