U of L increases security on campus

By on September 16, 2014

By Jacob Abrahamson and David Cissell:

U of L officials have announced a plan to increase security on the Belknap and HSC campuses in response to recent criminal activity.  The main provision in the plan is the immediate addition of four security and four police officers to patrol both campuses.

According to U of L spokesman Mark Hebert, “Patrol concentration will be all over the two campuses but mainly next to the Ville grill and the Cardinal Towne area on the Belknap campus.”  The plan is set to cost $300,000.

In recent months, violent crimes such as a shooting on the HSC campus and a stabbing in Old Louisville have led to student concern for safety on campus.  According to an email from the President’s Leadership Council, the university is currently experiencing a spike in crime.  The email cited a growth in heroin usage as a driver of the crime wave.

“The violent nature of recent crimes near campus (three) and on campus (one) caused increased concern among university leaders and UofL police, prompting the immediate, proactive measures,” said Hebert.

According to Hebert, ULPD is more focused on the violent nature of the recent crimes.

“The number of crimes is about the same as previous years, but the violence attached to them is what spiked concern from police, university leaders and the campus community in general.”

The university has also provided information on crime prevention, and is set to begin a safety communication campaign.

The Student Government Association also played an active role in the security increase by advocating on behalf of students for more safety initiatives.

According to the email, “[SGA] and the [ULPD] are identifying “L-Trail” safe walking areas on our campuses that will be particularly well-lit and patrolled to enhance security along these routes.”  It is unknown when these trails will be implemented.

On Tuesday Sept. 9, the Student Senate passed a safety resolution urging further action on security issues.

According to the resolution, the Student Senate “compels the Executive Branch to engage in discussions with relevant community partners, such as affiliated housing, Public Works and the LMPD, in an effort to address safety concerns near the Belknap and HSC campuses that fall outside the university’s immediate control.”

The SGA Safety Committee, which was formed at the beginning of the school year, has been charged with naming the areas near campus which have the most security concerns.  The SGA will then present a further action plan by Sept. 23.

At this time, there are no specific plans for more increases in security, but administration officials will keep considering new initiatives as needed.

“U of L administration, in conjunction with ULPD, is constantly looking at campus security to make sure it meets one fundamental goal – keeping students, faculty, staff and visitors safe,” said Hebert.  “The Belknap and Health Science Center campuses are safe and we will do what takes, now and in the future, to make sure they remain safe.”

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