On campus crime in decline

Jennifer Curington

The Georgia Southern University Public Safety Department has noticed a significant decrease in the number of reported crimes this year.

In 2013, 62 crimes were reported from January to March. In that same time period this year, only 40 crimes were reported.

“We’re not going to count our chickens before they hatch, but for the first quarter it looks like crime is down,” Michael Russell, director of public safety, said.

Thefts have been and continue to be the crime that GSU police deal with most often, but even thefts on campus have decreased. From January to March of this year 33 thefts were reported versus the 52 that were reported for that same time frame last year.

“I don’t know if folks are finally listening to us and we’re being in the right place at the right time,” Russell said. “All it takes is one bad weekend and [the numbers] go up.”

Russell said there isn’t one main factor that has led to this decline. Rather, it’s a combination of their crime prevention programs, officer’s being present, checking doors that are unlocked to lock them and students changing their habits.

With final exams coming up next week, Russell and the rest of the Public Safety staff knows that the library is going to become a lot busier, which also means more chances for items to be taken.

He suggests that while in the library, or any other area, never leave belongings unattended.

“Books are just like money on a college campus,” Russell said.

The items that are most commonly stolen on campus are the things that students carry with them on a regular basis such as book bags, phones, iPods and textbooks. Bicycles that are not securely locked are another common item.

There is a multitude of instances caught on GSU cameras where someone will leave their door unlocked or seat unattended with their belongings there for just a few seconds and during that time someone else will come by and grab their phone, book bag or whatever else is there, Russell said.

Russell said, “There was a young lady in a computer lab that was printing something. When she got up to go get whatever she had printed, the guy right down from her gets up, walks by, grabs her phone and out the door.”