On the Security of our Campus and the Safety of our Community
To the Georgia Tech community:
The safety of our students, faculty and staff continues to be one of our highest priorities, and we are continually working to improve and enhance the many aspects that contribute to creating a safe environment. However, the recent report of a sexual assault on campus is an unsettling reminder that crime prevention is a constant concern, requiring our full attention and unified effort. With assistance from the victim, family and friends, we are conducting a thorough investigation and working toward its resolution.
Following our Homecoming game against Clemson, I rode along with the Georgia Tech Police until about 3 a.m., something I try to do a couple of times a year to better understand the campus environment late at night. This allows me to observe firsthand the challenges associated with policing a campus of our size and reaffirm my belief that the Georgia Tech Police are a committed group of professionals who do an outstanding job providing for the safety and security of our campus community. Over the past three years, we have significantly increased the number of public safety officers and enhanced our policing strategy, and have seen a corresponding decrease in crime on and around our campus.
This concerted effort toward continuous improvement in security has led to increased collaboration, such as our campus safety walks, which help to identify and correct unsafe conditions. It has also led to new technology solutions, which will include a personal safety cellular system and efforts to enhance communication among the more than 700 video cameras currently installed on campus.
Above all, we need everyone to partner with us in our efforts to develop public awareness and a shared commitment to “look out” for one another. The cooperation and involvement of the entire Tech community, together with our partnerships with other public safety organizations such as the Atlanta Police Department, Midtown Blue and the Georgia State Patrol, remain essential to our long-term success in maintaining a secure environment.
To help build this type of partnership, we are initiating a “See something? Say something!” campaign to encourage everyone on campus to be aware and observant. This can be as simple as asking friends and roommates whether they have a plan for late-night travel, or ensuring no one in a study or social group is left behind to get home alone. If criminals look for opportunity, then our focus must be to limit opportunity; public education and awareness are key components in that strategy. Indeed, the benefits to fostering a culture of concern go far beyond personal safety.
As a matter of federal policy, Georgia Tech communicates criminal activity in areas both on and surrounding its campus. This approach is intended to keep the community informed and vigilant, yet at times the added awareness can create the perception that a campus is unsafe. In reality, the statistics simply do not bear this out.
Crime prevention is about people, not statistics, which is why Georgia Tech takes an aggressive stance in both identifying and responding to safety concerns. We’ve increased the visibility of our officers, enhanced our nighttime transportation options, expanded our crime prevention outreach and self-defense classes, and partnered with local law enforcement and public safety organizations.
The security of our students, faculty and staff will always be a priority.