This semester started with several changes being implemented to improve safety and reduce crime on campus.
“We started seeing that in our evaluation from students, there was a pattern where people were not feeling safe, so its change was student driven,” said Thomas A. Johnson, executive director of Campus Safety. “Now we are doing what the students asked for.”
According to Johnson the comments from students included:
“Would you please check IDs to make sure people are where they are supposed to be,” “we can’t walk in front of Rogers Student Center because it’s always crowded with people,” and “boys are giving cat calls because they are just hanging around.” Students and faculty are now wearing lanyards with ID cards to distinguish them from others on campus. One can walk around Rogers Student Center and observe that traffic is flowing and students are not crowding in a single spot.
“We are going to be pro active, identify who does not belong here, troublemakers and who is hanging around the Rogers Student Center,” TJC President Michael Metke said.
Staff has increased in the campus safety department and 200 security cameras have been added on campus to offer 24 hr surveillance.
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design is a method that Campus Safety is using to promote crime prevention. It includes placing signage to present safety messages and warnings around campus. This method also includes using landscaping enhancements to improve visibility and security.
“The azaleas that were in front of the Rogers Student Center were 10-foot tall and were replaced with dwarf azaleas in order for the security officers and cameras to have a better view,” said Johnson. “Other changes around campus were replacing damaged and worn out wood tables and benches that were located outside with safer and longer lasting metal ones.”
Students who have noticed the changes around campus may be asking: “What major incident caused the increase of safety?”
“I do know they are getting strict, but I really have not seen anything wrong in the past semesters to agree with the increase of security and having to wear these lanyards,” Jessica Vega, sophomore said.
A major incident that prompted the changes was a drug bust that occurred on campus during the spring semester. After receiving tips from students that drugs were being sold at TJC, undercover officers made drug buys and arrests.
“When it was done it proved our hypothesis, “Melton said. “Our hypothesis was that we had some people here that did not belong that are causing problems.”
None of the six arrested were full-time students and only one was a part-time students.
“Now things are being done the way they need to in order to make sure that we have a nice, clean environment for students,” Melton said. “You don’t have to look over your shoulder because Campus Safety is very pro-active about what we do.”