Mercer campus safe despite recent rise in crime

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“We all strive for the same thing. We want to keep you safe while you are learning,” said Mercer Police Chief Gary Collins. 

With the recent rise in crime on campus, Mercer police are giving students advice on how to exercise safety on and off campus.

In recent months, Mercer police have seen an escalation in property crimes and one robbery. 

“Our students have a bad habit of leaving stuff just sitting out, and when they return it’s gone. If they see it, people will go after it,” Collins said. He further stresses to the students that with their new freedom comes more responsibility.

Chief Collins and his officers have increased patrol in the areas where these incidents have occurred, further taking measures to ensure students’ safety. 

Mercer Police have included 24-7 patrol in the College Corridor and offer to drive students anywhere on campus.

“When something happens at Mercer, it seems like a big uprising in crime. We’ve been very fortunate that we don’t have much crime,” Collins said.

Collins attributes this prevention to his 15-man task force, faculty, staff and students cooperating in reporting suspicious behavior. Collins stresses the key element of safety is to be aware of your surroundings. 

“Try to prevent yourself from becoming a target. Know where you are. Know your surroundings. Go to well-lit areas. There are some areas that even I wouldn’t want to walk into at night,” Collins said. 

Report any incident or suspicious behavior immediately after it occurs. In areas on campus that are not well lit, Collins suggests walking in groups.

If someone were to approach you, try to get a detailed description of that person. Do not act like you are afraid or nervous and look the person in the eye. 

“Don’t fight with them. Let us do that. Give them what they want; your life is more important than any property you may have on you,” said Collins. Most importantly, be aware of who is around you. 

In regards to lighting, Mercer police is working with the Student Government Association to improve lighting in areas, such as parking lots, on campus for students studying late at night. 

To minimize unwanted foot traffic, officers frequently check identification. 

“Sometimes students will get upset because they’re stopped and asked for identification. But, if we see people, we do stop them and try to find out why they are here,” Collins said.

Chief Collins encourages his officers to evoke not only a presence as enforcers, but one of friendship as well. 

“I want them interacting with the students. We are your allies, and if you have questions don’t hesitate to ask.”

On a scale of one to 10, Chief Collins rates Mercer’s safety at nine. 

“I think Mercer is a very safe campus. In no way do I mean to imply that nothing ever happens; incidents are going to occur,” Collins said.

Mercer Police emphasizes that the combined efforts of everyone working together—students, faculty, staff and police department—will minimize the number of occurrences.

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