A series of criminal activity throughout the fall semester has sparked campus security interest at UNA. Criminal activity both on campus and around the Florence area have led UNA Vice President of Student Affairs David Shields, and UNA police Chief Bob Pastula to increase security on campus.
Some of the most prominent and recent criminal reports in the area include a reported sexual assault in the parking deck on campus on Sept. 26. There are no security cameras in the parking garage and there are currently no suspects for the case. The police did not report the alleged crime to university students through LionAlert until 48 hours after the crime occurred.
Another assault was reported the very next night on Sept. 27, which also occurred at the parking garage on campus. There is little information known about the assailant due to the lack of footage of the crimes.
The lack of security cameras at either of the university’s parking garages makes finding suspects of alleged assaults based on the victims’ ability to recall and describe a personage.
The next announced crime report was the very next day, on Sept. 28 when a math teacher received a letter containing a death threat and a bullet inside the envelope. It is currently unknown who sent the bullet.
Other crimes on campus include Oct. 21, when a LionAlert was sent to university students containing information that two black males wearing cargo pants and black hooded sweatshirts were chasing two students from town into campus.
In response to these and other criminal activity on and around campus, Shields and Pastula held a series of four open forums to all faculty and students about safety and security concerns at UNA.
The campus police now work longer hours in order to have three officers on duty at all times. They increased their hours from 3 eight-hour shifts to 2 twelve-hour shifts.
“Florence police officers work 12 hour shifts and state troopers have 10 hour days, so its not unheard of,” Brad Hornsby, student at UNA said.
There is now one officer assigned to the parking deck between the hours of 6pm to 12am. This can help deter crime in that area during the night hours, until midnight.
“After that, students can call SNAP to get a free escort back to a safe place,” said freshmen student at UNA Avery Dotson.
As far as implementing the use of security cameras at the parking garages, “There are considerations as to installing some,” Sr. Sgt. of Police at UNA Terry Parker said.
Hopefully this will be more deeply considered in the near future.
- Student Safety at UNA (sarahjaneeblog.wordpress.com)
- UNA Students Uneasy About Recent Events (whnt.com)
- UNA Alert System Under Review After Suspicious People On Campus (whnt.com)
- 10 Ways to Walk Back to Your Car Safely (parkingsigns.net)