Off-campus safety alerts available for GSU students

Grace Huseth

There has been a growing concern among Georgia Southern University students about on-campus and off-campus safety and while Eagle Alerts should serve their on-campus concerns, there are also outlets for off-campus alerts.

“The city of Statesboro has Nixle, a crime alert system similar to Eagle Alert, for the whole city. Students, especially those who live off-campus, might want to get alerts through Nixle,” Officer Justin Samples, Community Relations Officer of the Statesboro Police Department, said.

Samples said that the Statesboro Police Department has an RSS feed and Facebook page residents can visit for updates and press releases.

Many students may be concerned about the crime that occurs in off-campus apartments. Matt Weingarten, courtesy officer for The Garden District apartments, says that courtesy officers regularly patrol apartments to look for suspicious behavior.

“We are on call every night from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and every weekend,” Weinstein said, “We want to make sure residents feel safe and assist them with any general concerns.”

GSU police and Statesboro police departments work closely together to make sure crime stays low, Russell said.

Both Samples and GSU police Chief Mike Russell mentioned that radios are the key to good communication between the departments.

“Each officer can pick up different frequencies, so we monitor each other’s radio traffic,” Samples said.

Russell illustrated just how well the police departments are able to work together using radio by recalling a recent incident of a cell phone stolen at Zach S. Henderson Library.

The suspect stole the phone and then ran through Sweetheart Circle to escape the GSU police officer trailing him, Russell said.

“By the time our guy [the suspect] got to the Herty Woods was surrounded by troopers. We even had people from the work camp, city police, and county deputies. Our officer didn’t even have to call out: they listen to us, we listen to them.  In the end we caught the guy,” Russell said.

Weingarten said that courtesy officers are also Statesboro residents so they will be around during the holidays to check on the premises.

Crime prevention is down because of the involvement between GSU Police and the other branches of law enforcement in Statesboro, Russell said.

“We have very good connections and everyone works very well together,” Russell said, “We have our jurisdiction and they have their jurisdiction. We can go and help and they come and help, but we don’t patrol way off campus.  We have our own area.” Russell said

This helps ensure that every zone is covered and no spots are overlooked, Russell said.

The relationship between GSU Police and Statesboro Police Department is strong, Samples said.

“Georgia Southern University Police, Bulloch County Sheriff Office, and Statesboro Police Department all work closely together. We crack down the best leads and brainstorm together to create effective ways to tackle these problems,” Samples said, “We [Statesboro Police Department] have officers in the area of campus, like nearby apartments and University Plaza, but university Police usually respond before us.”

When the public receives Eagle Alerts, they feel like crime is on the increase, GSU police Chief Mike Russell said.

Samples said students should also start relying on the Statesboro Police Department for services that are equivalent to those provided by the GSU police.