by Ward Mullens, Published September 22, 2009
YPSILANTI - The two most important numbers related to public safety at Eastern Michigan University are 61 and 3.9 million. The 61 is the percentage in decline in the number of breaking and entering (B&E) calls in one year.
The $3.9 million is the number of dollars that EMU invested in renovating existing space for the new department of public safety facilities, which will host a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 10:30 a.m..
“This facility is a physical example of Eastern Michigan’s investment in and commitment to the safety and security of our students faculty and staff,” said Susan Martin, president of EMU. “The Board of Regents should be acknowledged for its leadership on this project. The board maximized University resources by renovating an existing structure to provide enhanced services for safety and security.”
The $3.9 million facility was a renovation of the former Hoyt Conference Center. The new police station includes a prisoner processing area, complete with holding area, locker rooms for officers, armory, evidence area and a briefing room.
The Department of Public Safety houses the campus police, emergency management and parking.
“It’s great to have a new station, but I think the 61 percent decline in B&Es is the real news,” said Greg O’Dell, EMU’s chief of police.
“One of the top priorities for the department has been to decrease B&Es. One of the primary reasons we have seen success with B&Es is the collaboration of DPS and Housing in the Gotcha Program,” O’Dell said. “We have resident assistants and police officers checking for unlocked doors and, when they find one, they let the student know,” said O’Dell.
The number of burglaries on campus declined from 123 in 2007 to 47 in 2008.
EMU saw declines or no change in all but one of the 13 crime categories that are reported to the federal government. The only on-campus category with an increase was robberies, which went from one in 2007 to four in 2008. EMU’s police answered more than 10,000 calls in 2008 and made 229 arrests.”
“We have made a lot of progress and added some very important tools in crime prevention at EMU,” O’Dell said. “The recently implemented crime mapping project allows anyone to see what crimes have occurred in the last 60 days. We also have added six temporary sworn officers to our force. And of course, SEEUS (Student Eyes and Ears for University Safety) provides escorts across campus.
The crime mapping application is located on the DPS Web site (http://geodata.acad.emich.edu/Crime/Main.htm) and provides users with a visual representation of where crime is occurring by adding markers to a map of the campus and the city. The application uses the Google mapping Web interface to plot the points where crimes occur.
“All of those things and the new station enable us to continue to provide a safer environment for our students, faculty and staff,” O’Dell said.