Thursday, January 28, 2016

Georgia State University Security Issues

Georgia State University is not safe! Although, Georgia State claims to be one of the safest campuses in the United States because they have one of the highest numbers of police officers on campus in comparison to other schools in Georgia. It is true that Georgia State has both campus and the State police officers patrolling it's vicinity because of it's proximity to the State's Capital building. Despite all of the so called police officers patrolling the vicinity, GSU has always had armed robberies issues. Here's a testimonial from my husband, who currently attends GSU:
"During incept week in the summer of 2013, when I came to visit Georgia State with my mom, one of Georgia State police officers told my entire group of about 500 people; including prospective students and their parents that their children would be safe at GSU. He told everyone of us that GSU has more police than anybody in that area and that our safety was guaranteed. I later found out that what he said was not true at all. Because in my freshman year at GSU, there was an armed robbery incident at the biggest dorm on campus; The Commons. A student gave away his access card to somebody on campus who got in and robbed four students at once, in their dorm room, at gun point. After a thorough investigation by the police, the robbers were later apprehended."

Here's the extent of lack of security in GSU; It is a common occurrence to see mentally disabled and non disabled homeless people walk in and out of classroom buildings. In the fall of 2015, I witnessed a homeless man attack a female student right in front of Langdale Building while students were waiting to get on the Blue Route bus that goes to Turner Field. The student was drinking coffee from a plastic cup. While she was about to take a drink from it, this dirty and unkempt looking homeless black man forced the coffee from her hands and started to drink it. After taking the first drink, he threw the cup to the ground, mumbling some profanities. There had to have been about 50 students standing by and watching this happen. This happened right in front of me, about 3 meters away from where I was sitting. I and a few other students called the campus police. When they arrived, an officer came out and as soon as he beckoned at the homeless guy, he obeyed and walked down the stairs. The officer asked him to keep walking and that was how that incident ended. I was very surprised at the homeless man's reaction to the cop because I thought that he was too mentally unstable to recognize the police but he did and obeyed the officer's command.

Within the last two weeks there have been about three robberies at the University library. How is that even possible for a school that boasts of having more security in place than the White House?! When you approach the library, there are people at the gate who should be checking id's of the people who are going into the library. Everyone has to have an access card to gain access through the gate because you are required to swipe your student id to gain access into the library. Visitors are given library passes at the gate and they usually check in their driver's license to be allowed access to the premises. On many occasions I have noticed that the security guards at the library gate are either too busy chitchatting with one another or playing with their phones, to care about who goes into the library.

Georgia State's response to the first robbery was mediocre. They didn't add more police security to the library where all these recent robberies have taken place. The only change they made was make sure that visitors at the library left at 6 p.m. I can guarantee you that it was not someone with a visitor's pass who robbed those students. It was someone with a student's id. To this day, they have not apprehended the criminal from the earlier armed robberies at the library. The police at GSU lack two fundamental aspects of policing which also happen to be the most basic aspects of policing.
1. They fail miserably at crime prevention. Their level of deterrence is not high at all. GSU police does not do anything that will deter criminals from robbing. In fact, we have seen more robberies happen on campus within this period than last year. These officers ride around in their patrol cars and bikes and that doesn't deter the criminals.

2. They lack environmental design. This is where security cameras and gate check points come in. The only thing Georgia State offers in terms of environmental design is the gates but they obviously are failing miserably at that because of the recurrent armed robberies at the library. Although these gates are in place, yet you never find police officers beside them. In stead you find incompetent students who are hired by the school to do the jobs of trained police officers. It is very obvious that these students care more about the supplemental income they're making than the job they are hired to do. They spend a lot of time chitchatting and playing with their cell phones than they do checking access id's. The fact that Georgia State hire students to run their buildings should tell you how important student safety means to them.

The other thing that Georgia State offers in terms of environmental safety measures are call boxes. Call boxes are not a very efficient system. They are outdated. Students are are often robbed at gunpoint before they reach these call boxes anyway. Just this morning at about 7 or 8 a.m a couple of robberies were reported at the library. I was at the library last night. It could've been me getting robbed at gunpoint. Georgia State is unsafe and due for a major security overhaul on campus. GSU need a stronger security than they have now, especially now that the student body just doubled as a result of the Atlanta Perimeter merger. It is obvious that the school need to hire skilled and trained security guards instead of hiring incompetent students as security guards, in positions that are crucial to students safety. The police need to be more involved and put to use other than the aimless patrolling that don't solve anything. they need to be more ubiquitous on campus and stationed at the library. As it is now clear to everyone that it has become the target of armed robbers.

The library is the heart of the campus. It is a place where students get resources, do most of their research, and homework. For the frequency of its use, it should be one of the safest places on campus but obviously that's not the case. Something needs to be done urgently because it is only a matter of time before a student gets shot by these vicious robbers.