After the shooting at Delta State University, attention is once again on college campus security.
The University of Southern Mississippi’s police department (UPD) has detailed plans that are in place to deal with emergencies and crises that may occur on campus.
According to UPD’s web page, in the event that the campus community must be notified of an emergency or crisis on campus, they would use many methods to contact students and faculty.
The list of methods include e-mail alerts, phone messaging system, voice messaging utilizing alert sirens and alerting local media and radio outlets.
If someone is notified of or involved in an emergency or crisis, they will be told to stay calm, assess their surroundings and be prepared to take safety measures based on their personal situation.
Other warnings issued include staying away from the area of emergency or crisis, finding a safe place to stay until the emergency is over and not opening the door for anyone unless it is the police.
Also according to their web page, UPD is fully recognized as a law enforcement agency by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
Officers are highly trained and capable of responding to all types of emergencies, which include active threats such as a shooter. Officers also train for specific types of situations and participate in regular training exercises.
If you are directly affected by an emergency, call 911 or UPD at 601- 266-4986 as soon as it is safe to do so. Provide as much information as you can and stay on the phone until told to hang up.
If UPD needs additional assistance, other law enforcement agencies such as the Hattiesburg Police Department, Forrest County Sheriff’s Office, Lamar County Sheriff’s Office and Petal Police Department are prepared to respond.
Alexandria Paige, junior business administration entrepreneurship major, has felt very safe during her time at USM.
“I feel safe so far,” Paige said. “There’s been nothing that has given me a reason not to feel safe.”
Mitchell Carley, sophomore athletic training major, feels the same way. “I usually do feel safe,” Carley said. “I don’t see any trouble going on campus.”
In the United States, shootings at college campuses have become common. The New York Times reported that from 2007 until 2013, an average 16.4 mass shootings per year took place in the U.S.
The National Center of Victims of Crime reported that in 2011, data from the FBI showed that over 89,160 crimes were reported to college and university police. Of the reported crimes, 97 percent were property crimes and 3 percent were violent crimes.
Of all the property crimes reported on university campuses in 2011, 87 percent were larceny-thefts, 11 percent were burglaries, 2 percent were motor thefts and 0.4 percent were arson.