DU Heightens security for safer campus

Deanie Brown, president of safety, sat down with officials last week to discuss traffic control, Samuel DuBois Cook Fine Arts and Communications Center gate issues, vision of safety on campus and past issues of rape at Dillard.

Sexual assault incidents occurred on campus in 2004 and 2007, but outside Dillard’s gated community the numbers are alarming.

According to the New Orleans Police Department records, 87 rapes were reported in 2006, but in 2005, there were a total of 146 and this number does not include individuals who did not wish to file a report. Additionally, in 2006, there was a sum of 2,253 violent crimes assaults, murders and armed robberies. In the same year, 12,178 non-violent crimes were reported according to Unified Crime Reports (U.C.R.).

Compared to other universities in New Orleans, Dillard University ranked number one in least reported incidents. In 2003, there were four robberies and one illegal weapons charge, not including drug and liquor violations at Dillard. Second for safety was Loyola University with only three robberies in 2005, and eight in 2004, with no rapes.

Xavier University came in third with 12 robberies in 2005, and 21 in 2004; with only one rape reported in 2003. Fourth, Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College reported nine robberies, two rapes and five illegal weapons violations in 2005. Additionally, Southern had 14 robberies the previous year with one rape.

Tulane University comes in last with the highest out of any New Orleans university reporting 26 robberies and one illegal weapons violation report in 2005. In 2004, Tulane reported 46 robberies, but no sexual offenses.

Now at Dillard University, Jesse Hernandez, chief of operations, has in place with Brown plans that will include the Third District Police Department, which will give

Dillard officers more power to protect and serve the Dillard Community.

Hernandez said that there are off-duty New Orleans officers that work with personnel. There are plans to set up a command center near the Gentilly Gardens, and sessions to make students more familiar with the security staff. After a discussion about the danger of the dark passage between the main gate and pathway to the Dual Apartments Brown said she was very concerned.

“If students feel unsafe, communicate to the officers your thought of endangerment and an officer will drive with the cart to secure your passage to your location,” said Brown.

“Opening the Cook gate is no problem, but the situation leaves us one officer short,” said Hernandez. The gate is scheduled to open at 7 am and close at 8 pm, but there are works until Sept. 22 to close the Cook Fine Arts and Communication Center gate at midnight, however decisions are still being made.

“My vision for Dillard University’s campus is to make students feel safe and welcome, but at the moment students feel harassed about the parking decals,” said Brown. “I want students to feel comfortable to communicate their concerns to us. At the same time not so friendly students feel we are ineffective at handling situations.”

Brown also voiced that students should still have identification along with the decals, and insists that the decal serves as one of the safety measures on campus.