Crime in the USC area has been on the decline, but the Department of Public Safety is still hoping to address several key issues and will be discussing possible changes over the summer.
DPS Assistant Chief John Thomas said some concerns for the coming year include an increasing number of homeless people around campus and a growing number of inmates who have been released early from jail moving into the area on probation status.
DPS will continue to work with the Department of Probation & Parole to monitor early released inmates in the community, Thomas said, and it hopes to address issues of aggressive panhandling and loitering.
DPS also plans to expand the use of bike patrols in the campus community, rather than increasing vehicle patrols.
Jillian Chou, a senior majoring in international relations, said she appreciates the extra CSC security officers that DPS has provided around campus.
“I like that they have security on every corner,” Chou said. “You feel very safe walking; it’s nice knowing they are watching you off campus too.”
Thomas said DPS also hopes to take steps to decrease property theft, including encouraging students to take better care of their property and to not leave their belongings unattended.
Mallory Jebbia, a sophomore majoring in biochemistry, said she understands why the thefts are frustrating for DPS.
“DPS can’t be there to watch our stuff,” Jebbia said. “Students need to be more aware and responsible of their belongings.”
The increased number of bicycles on campus is another concern for DPS because of thefts and because bikes can obstruct access to buildings.
Additionally, DPS hopes to see a decrease in the number of alcohol overdoses by students and a decrease in the number of physical altercations involving alcohol.
DPS has been able to continue the overall reduction of crime on campus through the first quarter of 2010, Thomas said.
This year, the USC campus community was designated as a safe community by the World Health Organization.
Thomas credited this success to the use of predictive policing as a crime reduction strategy and said he hopes to expand this practice.
“[We want to] expand our use of predictive policing and crime forecasting as strategies to combat crime and address quality of life issues,” Thomas wrote in an e-mail.
Still, some students like Jake Minkley, a junior majoring in business administration, do not feel campus safety has changed.
“I don’t feel like they have reduced crime,” Minkley said. “I go to the [University Village] and I just don’t feel like it’s gotten any better.”
But Molly Abrams, an undeclared sophomore, said DPS makes her feel safe.
“I never feel unsafe; they’re everywhere,” Abrams said.