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Student Life

Crime rates dropping at USF Tampa

University of South Florida students have a reason to feel safe on campus: officials say crime rates are decreasing annually.

An unofficial survey of about 30 USF students found that all but two felt the campus is a safe environment, but were unaware of the actions taking place to prevent crime.

Emmett Farris, a sophomore majoring in advertising, currently lives in Cypress Hall on the corner of Maple and Holly drive.

“I hear sirens almost every night outside my dorm,” he said. “ I know this can be a good thing and a bad thing but it makes me wonder how safe this campus really is sometimes.”

Tom Longo, chief of police at  USF, is pleased to report that campus crime is down 45 percent since 2005.

“Sixty percent of the arrests we make come from non-residential areas … and 90 percent are not students,” he said.

Steps toward tightening measures include a new relationship with Allied Barton Security, a security-guard service stationed on campus that reports suspicious activity and bike thefts.

Longo also said that USF’s parking patrol has been trained to monitor suspicious activity.

This past fall, SAFE team, a student escort service, came under the control of university police. According to USF’sDivision of Public Safety in Student Affairs, SAFE team offers safe transportation for students on campus and patrols for suspicious activity late at night and early in the morning.

Other programs to ensure student safety are Mobull Messenger, Guardian and Smart 911, which are all activated by students subscribing online.

Mobull Messenger sends alerts about campus threats via text message. Guardian, a GPS tracking system, allows the police department to safely track students traveling at night from one destination to another. In event of emergency, Smart 911 allows police access to critical student information, such as a USF ID photo, class schedules and a GPS to trace the location of the accident if 911 is called.

Nicole Smothers


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