New measures in effect to make campus safer

The Department of Public Safety has issued some new safety initiatives throughout campus in order to ensure the safety of all students, faculty, staff and visitors to UM, they said.

Specifically, more local police, security patrols and extra lighting have been implemented in areas that did not otherwise include them last year.

According to Henry L. Christensen, director of public safety, the extra patrols made up of both Coral Gables police and University police have been added to keep things under control for the beginning of the academic year.

“The crime rate is continuing to lower and we have put steps in place to keep people’s property more secure,” Christensen said.

Despite the new security measures, some students still believe additional improvements need to be considered.

“There are some areas, especially around the old art shacks and Memorial Building that do not have enough light, therefore creating an unsafe environment,” sophomore Silia Sagre said.

“We need more lighting around the lake, and in nooks and crannies all around the school,” sophomore Jermaine Bethune said. “The area around the Memorial Building and behind the library is very dark.”

Freshman Jay Snodgrass says he feels safe on campus but is a bit concerned that University security has been known to take a long time to respond to a call.

“Right now the crime trend seems to be down,” Christensen said. “More patrols would be implemented only if circumstances permit.”

According to Christensen, the new Pavia and Mahoney/Pearson parking garages were primary areas of focus when working on the public safety plan for this year.

More security personnel have been added to patrol the new lots and closed-circuit security cameras and emergency telephones complement the new security force, ensuring student’s safety to and from the garages,” he said.

“There is always a police officer around, so I feel that my car is secure, especially in the daytime,” Barbara Lavandeira, a commuting freshman, said.

Direct late-night access to the residential colleges continues to be blocked by gates in an attempt to lower the occurrence of burglaries and assaults. Between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., the gated entrance at Stanford Drive is the only available entrance and exit on campus.

In terms of crime, Christensen asserts that the rate of incidence has been very low.

“Besides a few bike thefts and minor infractions, things are looking good,” Christensen said. “As far as vandalism is concerned, there has been very little to date so far this fall.”

Another area of concern is reckless skateboarding on campus. Although skateboards are permitted as a mode of transportation on campus, their recreational use is prohibited.

“If the activity becomes a hazard in any way, we will do all we can to curtail the occurrence,” Christensen said.

In case of an emergency or to report an incident, contact public safety at 305-284-6666.