Crime in Atlanta: GTPD evaluates campus crime practices

Photo by Victor Lee / Student Publications
After grades, safety seems to be the second most important issue on the minds of Tech students and faculty these days.

Whether living on or off campus, every member of the Tech community faces the same security challenges that come with living in a major metropolitan area like Atlanta.

The Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) has committed itself to tackling this challenge head on.

Through new tactics that include segway mounted patrol officers to a now nationwide crime prevention campaign, GTPD has helped to lower the overall crime rate on Tech’s campus and surrounding areas by 24.1 percent since Nov. 2009.

The past two years have seen a substantial decrease in the number of Part 1 crimes, a category that covers more serious incidents such as murder, rape and motor vehicle theft.

“It’s hard to say one thing [led to the decrease in major crime related incidents]. As campus is growing, we are growing to ensure the safety of the student body and the community as a whole by providing more officers and more preemptive measures,” said Alex Gutierrez, an officer of the GTPD Crime Prevention.

Gutierrez went on to talk about anti-crime campaigns to educate students such as “Clear the Clutter,” a new initiative to get students to remove valuable personal possessions from plain sight or from their cars all together.

“Crimes occur when opportunity arises for the criminal. Take away the opportunity, and you can help prevent crime,” Gutierrez said.

The progress of the “Clear the Clutter” campaign at Tech has caused campuses across the country to implement the same strategies.

Officers from the Tech community have traveled to various universities that are leading seminars on maintaining school safety to try and see how they are dealing with the same problems.

On a campus that provides on-campus housing to over 9700 students, who in turn make up 54 percent of the Tech student body, campus security and safety plays a major role in day-to-day priorities of Tech.

Two police stations have been established on either side of the campus perimeter to help cover the growing size of campus life.

“I feel that campus security has done a wonderful job of protecting me, and that’s why I chose to live on campus for my second year here at Tech,” said Margaret Wright, a North Ave. Apartments resident and a second-year MGT major, of her choice of residence.

“[GTPD] responded in a timely manner, and I’ve noticed them working harder to prevent situations like that from happening again,” Wright said of recent incidents in North Ave.

Although campus has experienced an overall decrease in crime, smaller crimes, including bicycle thefts and larcenies from not only buildings, but also coin-operated vending machines, have increased in the past year.

Students who live on the perimeter of campus seem to be getting hit the hardest by these crimes.

Residential areas not directly affiliated with the Tech campus, such as Centennial Place Apartments and Home Park have had the largest occurrences of these smaller crimes.


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