GSU PD: Awareness of crime increasing, not crime rate

Sarah Ryniker


Eagle Alerts may seem more common with three sent out over Thanksgiving break, but Georgia Southern University Police believe that students’ awareness of crimes is increasing, not GSU’s crime rate.

Less burglaries, motor vehicle thefts, robberies and aggravated assaults happened in 2011 than in the previous year, according to the annual security report for 2011.

Eagle Alerts are in place to help make students safe, Chief Michael Russell of the Department of Public Safety, said.

“Crime has actually gone down on campus for the last two years. Your awareness is up, and that is exactly what we want,” Russell said.

Monday night an Eagle Alert was sent out about an armed robbery, which occurred at Stadium Walk Apartments. While this case was handled by the Statesboro Police Department, University Police still worked to aid in the identification of these two unknown armed suspects.

There was some video footage from GSU that may have helped identify the green Chevrolet car used in the robbery, Russell said.

Eagle Alerts are emergency mass notifications sent out by calls, texts and e-mails for crimes reported and may leave students in danger. Eagle Gram, a separate program, sends out messages to a student’s WINGS account and is in place for crimes that may not be threatening or are not immediate, Russell said.

Over Thanksgiving break, an Eagle Alert was sent out on Nov. 21 pertaining to a rape that occurred between two buildings near University Villas. The investigation proved that the incident was false and the complainant was arrested and charged with two crimes, a misdemeanor and a felony, the email alert stated.

The first alert was sent out on Nov. 21, stating that the incident occurred at University Village. Another alert was sent out the following day changing the location to University Villas. The following alert, which held information that the alleged rape was false, confirmed that the incident occurred at University Villas.

False stories, which are not uncommon in Statesboro, are just cover stories victims use for an easy way out, but they do hold consequences, Russell said.

“It isn’t rare enough,” Russell said. “It isn’t usually mean. Someone just got themselves in something and they are (filing a police report) just to get themselves out.”

On Nov. 11, an Eagle Alert was sent out that a robbery by intimidation and force took place in Eagle Village in conjunction with an event that happened the previous night. The suspect has been identified and warrants are now in place.

“These are different times today; people need to be more serious,” Russell said.

“We aren’t trying to be like CNN, we don’t pull out the news, that’s (The George-Anne’s) job. We are trying to get the word out and make aware of the situation,” Russell said.

If a report is made on campus, students will be notified, but each instance is taken on an individual case level in order to ensure that the most efficient notification is made, he said.

The GSU Department of Public Safety works in accordance with the Statesboro Police Department, as well as any other departments such as the FBI and the State Patrol.

“They listen to us, and we listen to them. Bulloch County is a very unique place because we get along so well,” Russell said. “However, we have our jurisdiction, and they have theirs. We can’t just go around opening investigations in the city because our campus might get neglected.”

But above all, being aware of the surroundings and calling 911 when something suspicious happens will keep you the safest, Russell said.

Russell said, “Just be a better neighbor.”