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Crime wrap-up: Criminally low

VSU ranked 211 out of all accredited universities in America for campus safety.

Alarms.org ranked VSU’s safety based on the number of violent and property crimes on campus, as supplied by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting and the Campus Safety Security Survey.

This puts VSU in the top 8 percent of safest college campuses, and the numbers don’t lie.

The rates of nearly all on-campus crimes have steadily decreased to promising numbers, per UPD’s annual disclosure of on-campus crime statistics.

The report states that the UPD’s jurisdiction “extends 500 yards in every direction from any real property under the jurisdiction of the Board of Regents.” This means that there’s a distinct difference between on-campus and off-campus crimes, even if the property is under the jurisdiction of the UPD.

Although off-campus crimes don’t factor into most national ranking systems, it’s still vitally important to determine the safety of the surrounding area.

Reports from 2017 startled many by presenting an egregious 341 percent increase in part I—violent and property—crimes in the area immediately surrounding VSU. But they don’t seem to be part of a worrisome trend.

According to the Valdosta City Police Department, crime is down 14 percent for part I crimes. In 2018, burglary cases decreased by more than 100 cases compared to 2017. The department also reported a decrease in motor vehicle crimes by 40 cases.

Interim Chief Leslie Manahan said the cause of the decrease comes from citizens’ growing sense of civic responsibility, awareness of suspicious activity in their neighborhood, reporting that activity and the willingness to educate themselves on crime prevention.

“We can’t be everywhere we need to be at one time, but people have been taking preventative steps, like setting up alarm and camera systems at their homes now,” Manahan said. “Citizens are coming forward and reporting things to us. We are seeing much more community engagement than previous years.”

These statistics seem to signify an improvement in VSU’s crime rate. But you, as a student, can take extra precautionary steps to prevent or mitigate crime on campus as well.

Most crimes committed on campus are petty thefts. The simplest thing you can do to prevent theft is be aware of your belongings. Also, you should:

* Always lock your doors.

* Avoid leaving your backpack or study materials unattended, even in the library.

* Temporarily obtain a lock from the front desk at the SRC for use on blue lockers adjacent to the basketball courts.

* Make sure your car is locked whenever you leave it and take all valuables with you.

* Always use U-bolt locks (pictured below). They are nearly impossible to break into.

And finally, if you see something suspicious, do not hesitate to contact UPD at 229-259-5555.

Written by Patrick Barry, Staff Writer.

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