March 11, 2015
15-85

President William J. McKinney Issues Letter To Campus Community About Safety

Good afternoon:

In light of recent incidents on the Valdosta State University campus, I am reaching out today to inform you of important safety measures that have been taken, as well as provide you with a brief overview of the decline in campus crime over the last three years.

First, I have been unambiguous in my commitment that campus safety must be our top priority.  No living and learning environment can serve its members effectively if it is unsafe, or perceived to be unsafe.  In the last three years, we have invested over $2 million in campus safety improvements, including improved campus lighting, enhanced surveillance cameras, and increased security personnel.  We evaluate the effectiveness of all safety measures on a regular basis. 

Over this same period, campus crime (defined here as felony crimes against persons) has decreased by more than 50%.  In calendar year 2012, VSU Police reported 38 felony crimes against persons.  That number dropped to 24 in 2013, and 13 in 2014.  To date, VSU police report five instances of such crime in 2015.  I would like to thank our Valdosta State University Police for their hard work in helping to make us safer.  I would also like to thank our students, faculty, and staff, especially the members of our Planning and Budget Council, for recognizing the importance of our campus safety. 

Secondly, let me address what recent measures we have taken to increase the safety of our community.  Under the leadership of Interim University Police Chief Oswell Armour and Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration Traycee Martin:

• A plain clothes officer will be on every shift and will walk the campus.

• University Police officers will have increased interactions with pedestrians and drivers on campus.

• The VSUPD will continue its excellent collaboration with Valdosta City Police to increase patrols around campus.

• We will add security patrols across campus, with a specific patroller stationed at Odum Library from 10:00 PM to 2:00 AM.

Finally, since communication is a vital part of all campus safety plans, let me direct your attention to some important campus resources.  The Valdosta State University Police Department Web page is filled with useful information about campus safety, including our annual crime statistics reports.  You will find that page at http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/finance-admin/police/welcome.php.  On Twitter, please follow the Valdosta State Safety Awareness Mascot @VState_SAM.  Finally, for the latest information on any campus emergency, always look to our homepage at valdosta.edu.

With thanks for all that you do for our University!

William J. McKinney, Ph.D.

President

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