Statesboro off-campus housing crime rate raises concerns

The increase in off-campus crime incidents over the recent months in the areas surrounding Campus Crossings, Stadium Walk and Cambridge has resulted in students feeling unsafe at times.

“I do sometimes feel unsafe living where I stay because of the recent crimes that have occurred,” Ashanti Hardy, junior justice studies major, said. “However, I believe that the same amount of crime probably happens in other areas around Statesboro that we are just unaware of.”

It seems as if a robbery or some other offense occurs almost weekly and students are receiving Eagle Alert phone calls and texts at a more frequent rate.

Although students might believe that there is an increase in crimes around the area, the Statesboro Police Department states otherwise.

“We don’t have any crime statistics that indicate an increase in crime for 2015,” Justin Samples, Corporal of the Statesboro Police Department, said. “In fact, there has been a decrease in crime.”

Despite this, the department has stated that multiple complexes have expressed interests in keeping their property crime free, but this comes at a price.

One must consider the cost and time required to evict tenants causing problems, adding extra lighting and other security measures around the property along many other factors.

“Apartment complexes have a lot to handle on a day-to-day basis. Crime prevention isn’t always on the top of the list,” Samples said. “Managers have to consider ‘quality versus quantity’ when it comes to tenant applications and making sure apartment units are rented to covers operating costs.”

As for who specifically targets these complexes, Samples declined to speculate, but he did give insight into why off-campus complexes are chosen as crime targets.

“For would-be criminals, they see several potential targets in a small geographical area. It’s easier to blend in while in an apartment complex as opposed to a neighborhood where residents would recognize someone that does not live in the area,” Samples said.

Maso Moon, a senior construction management major currently living at Campus Crossings, agrees with Samples’ statement.

“I feel like a majority of the crimes committed are by individuals who are locals of Statesboro and are not residents,” Moon said.

Moon said that while his complex is tight knit and most students know each other, he still feels unsafe. He also hasn’t seen a change in security measures around his complex.

“To drown the complex with security and cops would make the area uncomfortable for students even though it’s a safety reason,” Moon said. “But I think there should be more than one security officer, that way one [officer] doesn’t have to patrol the whole complex by himself.”

The Statesboro Police Department uses targeted patrols in areas that they see increases in certain types of crime.

This is something that Danyl Dickerson, a sophomore mechanical engineering major and Southern Downs resident, has recently noticed in his residence.

“I actually have seen an extra amount of cops show up to my apartment complex,” Dickerson said.

Even though Dickerson has seen an increase in cop patrols, he believes that the complex should look into their own small security patrol team and more safeguards for the residents.

“I think there aren’t many in my complex, but I do think there will be more [crimes] to come,” Dickerson said.

It seems to be an uncertain future when it comes to off-campus crime. In spite of this, there are still measures that an individual can do on their own to prevent the increase of crime.

“The number one thing you can do is to lock your vehicle doors and apartment doors and always report suspicious activity to police,” Samples said. “This goes back to the ‘if you see something, say something’ philosophy. The citizens are our eyes and ears in the community.”

Photo courtesy of Kelly Lowery

Photo composited of Haley Smith