Campus Crime 

University of Memphis boasts lowest crime rate in the state.

Memphis may have made the FBI's "Most Dangerous Cities" list again this year, but the crime problem has managed to steer clear of the University of Memphis.

For the third consecutive year, the university has been dubbed the safest campus in Tennessee among schools with 5,000 or more students.

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, from 2007 to 2010, the university had the lowest overall incident rate among the 10 largest universities in the state.

Derek Myers, deputy director of police services at the U of M, said campus police encourage students, staff, and faculty to inform officers when they suspect suspicious behavior.

"I always tell people, 'If it doesn't look right and it doesn't feel right to you, then it probably isn't, and you need to call us,'" Myers said. "Generally, people's instincts are correct."

The U of M's 2011 Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report revealed that the highest percentage of crimes at the school were thefts from buildings, burglary, and vandalism.

In 2010, there were 74 reported thefts from campus buildings alone, which Myers said normally occurs in locations where large numbers of people congregate, such as the campus recreation center.

"A very common thing is, I sat my book bag down, and maybe I went to use the restroom or I walked outside to have a cigarette, and I came back in and my book bag's gone," Myers said.

The school had 44 reported burglaries in 2010. Myers said most of the burglaries on campus don't involve "someone kicking down a door."

"If a jar of change goes missing off of someone's desk, that's considered a burglary," he said.

Web cameras installed across campus, an increased police presence, traffic enforcement, and emergency phones have also helped to reduce crime.

Despite the school's low crime rate, some students feel more could be done. Senior KaLisa Kimble said she feels safe on campus during the day but not at night.

"I shouldn't have to look over my shoulder when I'm walking," Kimble said. "I think they should beef up the police. They should install more cameras. ... If you look around, there are not that many on campus."

Junior Quennel Williams said the police should focus more on monitoring who is coming onto the campus.

"Something could happen to somebody and that person could not even be a student," Williams said. "I think they should create a way to start carding people to allow them on campus."

Kimble said she feels threatened when people who weren't students have approached her on campus.

"I'm not saying they should swipe your ID every time you get on campus because that would be annoying, but they need to find some way to limit [who is able to get on campus]," Kimble said.

Myers said people who aren't students commit the majority of campus crimes, but the last major incident at the U of M did involve two students.

In 2007, U of M football player Taylor Bradford was murdered near his campus apartment. Another student, Devin Jefferson, was sentenced to life in prison for orchestrating the botched robbery that resulted in Bradford's death. The other two involved, Daeshawn Tate and Victor Trezevant, were not students.

Myers said campus police didn't make changes to the way they operate after the murder.

"Most of what we deal with on a regular basis are property crimes, petty thefts, and things like that," Myers said. "[Bradford's murder] is something that's so out of the realm of the ordinary that it kind of sticks out like a sore thumb compared to any of the other crimes."

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