Stories produced by students in the Meek School of Journalism & New Media
Ole Miss is expected to open its first parking garage with 823 brand new spaces for students, staff and the community this fall. However, such a large garage raises issues of safety.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, from 2004 to 2008 seven percent of all violent crimes occurred in parking garages. In 2009, about six percent of purse snatchings or pickpockets took place in parking garages.
Mike Harris, director of parking and transportation at the University of Mississippi, says that safety precautions are already apart of the plan.
“This particular garage will have cameras. There will not be any place inside this garage that won’t be monitored. Even the elevators have cameras,” said Harris “It will be well lit; we are using L.E.D. lighting which is the top of the line lighting. It will be well open.”
Harris also says that cameras will also monitor the license plates of each car entering and leaving the facility, which will be located in the entrance of the garage. He says there will be security personnel monitoring the parking garage at least once an hour.
Jeff Kellum, crime prevention coordinator of the University Police and Campus Safety Office says that the parking lots at Ole Miss do not have a history of crime
“Checking parking lots is something that happens constantly on campus,” said Kellum “we stay in the parking lot, there is almost always a car in the parking lot.”
Betsy Rush, a sophomore at the University of Mississippi, believes she will use the parking garage.
“I think the parking garage will alleviate stress for students trying to find parking. I was nervous about it going up because of the stories you hear in parking garages, but knowing that there will be cameras and security monitoring the garage I feel better knowing this has been well thought out.”
The university also offers all students this safety advice:
Kellum adds that the addition of the parking garage will actually make the campus of Ole Miss safer.
“When you pedestrianize campus you limit the opportunity for a lot of crime. Majority of crime that happens is because someone off campus comes to campus to commit crime. You limit that when you pedestrianize campus. Most people aren’t going to walk very far to do something wrong.”