Stories produced by students in the Meek School of Journalism & New Media
When it comes to crime on campus, most people tend to worry about violence, but at Ole Miss, a University Police Department spokesperson says there are three big challenges.
“The number one thing is larceny thefts. Then your alcohol-related incidents — your DUIs and then some drug activity,” said UPD Captain Thelma Curry.
Dylan Smith, a junior at Ole Miss, says he sees the same issues as a student.
“Aside from underage drinking and illegal drug use that I have seen, theft is very common,” said Smith. “For example, people have stolen bicycles and lap tops. Although it was not on the Ole Miss campus, I have had my bike stolen, and I don’t understand why someone would do such a thing.”
According to the University Police Department crime reports, from 2011-2013, there had been a total of 118 crimes reported on campus. 310 arrests were made for selective offenses that do not include DUI’s and public drunks.
Curry says you won’t like what happens if you fail to recognize the “no tolerance for alcohol” and driving under the influence rules on campus and get caught.
“Those normally result to a trip down town to the Lafayette county detention center, and then you have to go through student judicial. And for public drunkenness, it just depends on where you are or how bad off you are,” Curry says. “It goes on your criminal history, and you don’t want that popping up on your record when you’re looking for a job.”
In comparison to our neighbor Mississippi school, Mississippi State University, Ole Miss has had fewer students enroll. However, Ole Miss has had a higher number of crimes reported such as rape, burglary, larceny-theft, property crime and aggravated assault according to the FBI University Crime Reports.
Ole Miss junior Aubrey Ann Barton says she feels safe from crime most of the time.
“During football weekends, with more people present, there are a lot of cops are around. With more people, I feel safer,” said Barton. “The scariest weekends for me might be out at the bar on game weekends or even walking home at night.”
Curry says UPD officers prowl the halls of residential buildings from 10 at night to 6 in the morning, but Barton believes there should be more on the streets.
“I feel cops should patrol around more during the night as students walk home from fraternity houses and other places,” she said.
Smith believes, as a whole, the University Police Department is a trusting department.
“Depending on the type of interaction, my experience with UPD has been pleasant for the most part. I mean, they seem to be looking out for students’ best interest the majority of the time, but there have been times where I’ve seen officers abuse power for the sake of being a cop,” he says.
Barton says she generally views the UPD force positively.
“UPD has a better, friendlier and more personal relationship with students than others who I’ve encountered.”