ASU making strides in campus safety

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Officials and students are working together to make Arkansas State's campus safe. Back in 2010, the university formed a task force to provide recommendations to make the campus safer.  According to the crime numbers from University Police, the advice has paid off.

"Through our crime reports, and we monitor those regularly, we're seeing less crime than we've had in the last year, year in a half," said Student Affairs Vice Chancellor Dr. Rick Stripling.

Since the Spring of 2010, Stripling says the University has made improvement to campus safety not just from a police stand-point, but several areas of campus.

"We've put a lot of things in place. We've put gates around Collegiate Park. We've done a lot of lighting around campus. We've also raised awareness for safety," said Stripling.

Additional surveillance cameras around the University also helps to provided another eye. Stripling says it helps to deter crime, and resolve problem areas.

But University Police Chief Randy Martin says what's really boomed this year is student patrol. "We've added to that program," said Martin. It gives students the chance to take charge of their own safety. "They will walk around the residence halls, check for safety violations, like doors propped open," said Martin.

Another duty includes providing a safe escort for students across campus, which Martin says is up 300% from last year, providing over 900 rides.

"It's a dramatic increase and a lot of the increase can be attributed to student patrol," said Martin.

And student patrol wasn't the only area that "upped the annie". Two additional officers were added to the police force. "We are more visible than we used to be, enforcing the rules and regulations.  We want to let everyone know that we are here and try to deter those types of activities (crime). This is not a place for that, this is a place for learning," said Martin.

We ran into some student who say they've lived on campus the past couple of years. We asked them on a scale of one to 10, how safe is the ASU campus?

"I'd say a seven or an eight. It's pretty safe for the most part. There's campus patrol driving around random hours of the night and then there's the safety stations where you can press the button to call 9-1-1," said Junior Robert Holt.

"Probably about an eight or a nine. I think there's some improvements that could be made, but I think they are doing a great job for the most part," said ASU Sophomore Brooke Knowles.

University officials says with the student growth on campus, safety strategies are always evolving.

Chief Martin says they hope to hire an additional patrol officer this summer.

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