Preventing Campus Crime
A summary of policies and procedures prepared for the faculty and staff of Mississippi State University, published in compliance with the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989.
A MESSAGE FROM THE CHIEF
The Mississippi State University Police Department is dedicated to providing the highest quality law enforcement and crime prevention services to our campus community. Our department is empowered as a law enforcement agency by virtue of 37-101-15 (c) of the Mississippi Code of 1972 Annotated. Officers are vested with the authority of a constable that includes the power to make arrests and carry firearms. Our sworn and academy-trained officers and our support staff work as partners with many university departments, offices, and student and civic organizations in developing and maintaining a safe and secure campus. The police department understands the overall academic mission of the University and strives to play a vital role in enhancing that mission through crime prevention, education, inspection, and enforcement. Although the campus consistently has a low crime rate, this is not possible without all members of the campus community working in partnership and exercising their shared responsibility for safety and security. Our department shares your concern for your safety and welfare, and we are ready to serve you 24 hours a day throughout the year.
Chief of Police
IMPORTANT TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Procedures for reporting campus crime and other emergencies
Campus crime is a reality and preventing it is a responsibility shared by all members of the campus community. Public apathy is a criminal's greatest ally. If you see or suspect criminal activity, you cannot assume that someone else has reported it. Whether you are a victim or an observer, you should report any crime, suspicious activity, or emergency on campus to the University Police Department. Remember, you don't need proof that a crime has occurred. If you are suspicious, call the University Police Department at 325-2121. In case of emergency, simply dial 911. The police department is located in the Stone Building at the southwest corner of B.S. Hood Drive and Barr Avenue, adjacent to the football stadium.
Students, faculty, and staff should report all crimes and medical or fire emergencies to the University Police Department. When a report is received, a police officer will go to the caller's location for investigation. When necessary, a follow-up investigation will be conducted by the department and coordinated with the local police agencies. In the case of a medical or fire emergency, the University Police Department will notify the appropriate emergency personnel.
When you call the university police, please provide the following information:
- Your name;
- The location of the incident you are reporting;
- A description of the scene and suspects;
- A description of any vehicles involved in the incident, especially a license plate number; and
- The nature of the incident.
Response to reports of crime
All crimes reported to the University Police Department are considered serious and are treated with the appropriate concern and attention toward solving the crime. Each officer is trained to perform investigations, and two officers are designated as full-time investigators. All reasonable avenues of investigations will be pursued concerning a complaint. The complainant will be notified in a timely manner of the results of the investigation.
A log of reported crimes is maintained by the department and shared with interested people or organizations on a daily basis. Additionally, the campus community will be notified immediately about any crimes or incidents that seriously threaten campus safety. Offices which regularly receive information concerning reported crimes include:
Mississippi State University Police Department (325-2121);
Director of Housing's Office (325-3557); and
Dean of Students' Office(325-3611).
Individuals who become aware of incidents or individuals that threaten the safety of the campus community should immediately contact the University Police Department or one of the individuals listed above.
Additionally, information regarding reported crimes or incidents that occur on campus are shared with the following student organizations:
The Reflector (325-2374)
Student Association (325-3917).
Individuals who wish to report incidents of inappropriate behavior by students but who do not want the incident investigated as a criminal offense should make such report to the Dean of Students (325-3611).
Individuals who wish to report incidents of inappropriate behavior by staff or faculty but who do not want the incident investigated as a criminal offense should make such report to the appropriate department chairperson or Director, or the Employee Relations and Development section of the Department of Human Resources Management (325-0608).
If you are assaulted
If you are assaulted, call the University Police Department as soon as possible. Try to remember as much about the assailant as possible. Characteristics important in locating and identifying suspects include sex; race; hair color, length and texture; body size; clothing; scars and other noticeable markings; mode of travel; and vehicle color, type, and license plate number. In some incidents, the victim may already know the name of the person committing the assault. If you report an assault, the campus will be searched immediately for suspects, and neighboring police agencies will be notified.
If you see a suspicious person
If you see anyone acting suspiciously, call the University Police Department at once. Do not approach the person yourself. Report the type of activity you observed and describe the person or persons involved. Provide as much information as you can, such as the person's sex, race, location, type of clothing, and type of vehicle. University police will investigate your report immediately. If all members of the campus community become security conscious and report suspicious activity, thefts and related incidents will be reduced. Remember, preventing crime is your responsibility, too!
If you receive a bomb threat
If you receive a bomb threat by telephone, obtain as much information from the caller as possible. Do not panic. Ask for (1) the location of the bomb, (2) the expected time of explosion, and (3) the type of bomb. Listen carefully to the caller's voice and any background noises. Such information may assist in identifying the caller. Call the University Police Department immediately. University police will search the area involved and notify trained bomb squad personnel if a device is found. University police, together with building officials, will determine whether evacuation is required.
The most important thing to remember about preventing crime is that you should call police whenever you suspect that a crime has been or may be committed. You don't need proof in order to call. If you suspect a crime, call the University Police Department immediately.
Campus security and access to campus facilities
Although the Mississippi State campus is open to the public, its facilities are limited to university academic and administrative activities and programs sponsored by university groups. Anyone requesting after-hours access to facilities must have the approval of the appropriate authority prior to the police department allowing access.
University facilities and landscaping are maintained to minimize hazardous conditions. Malfunctioning lights and other unsafe conditions should be reported immediately to the Physical Plant Department by calling 325-2052 or, after business hours, by calling the University Police Department, 325-2121. Lighting reports and physical security reports also are compiled weekly by the University Police Department and forwarded to Physical Plant for appropriate action.
Residence halls are a special concern. The on-campus residence halls and apartments currently house nearly 4,000 men and women, both undergraduate and graduate students, mostly in double accommodations. Some buildings are open year-round; most other facilities close during university holidays. Each resident is provided with a key to his or her room. Main entrances of most residence halls are locked at the closing of the halls each night. After closing time, individuals may enter their residence hall by using an ID card in the card access reader system installed in main doors. All other doors are marked "Exit Only" or "Emergency Exit Only" and should be locked to prevent entry from outside the building at all times. These doors are to be used only for their designated purposes. Windows are equipped with locks operable by the room occupants.
Residence hall door security
- A student who enters or leaves the residence hall after closing hours is responsible for securing the outside door.
- A student may not prop open or alter a door so that it will not properly close and lock.
- A student may not admit unauthorized or uninvited persons into the hall after it has been closed.
- Any maintenance deficiencies that may compromise building security should be reported immediately to a residence hall staff member or the Housing Facilities Office (325-2190). When the Housing Facilities Office is closed (after 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and during weekends and holiday periods), potential security problems should be reported to the University Police Department (325-2121).
- Individuals responsible for tampering with residence hall door security will be put though the Universiyt judicial process and may be criminally prosecuted.
Security systems and security procedures are provided for your protection. You should follow these procedures at all times.
Card access security systems are monitored 24 hours a day. Hall desks operate 12-to-24 hours a day to provide additional security.
The first floor meeting of each semester in the residence halls is designated as a time to review specific rule enforcement. There also is time to discuss fire safety and security. Other topics related to safety and security issues are discussed with residents as needed.
The University Police Department is part of the Division of Student Affairs and reports to the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs. The Chief of Police is responsible for the management of the University Police Department. All other public safety services are coordinated with key university and local officials.
The University Police Department consists of 30 sworn officers who are certified through the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Training Academy and have constable powers under authority of state statute. They are responsible for enforcement of university rules and regulations and the laws of the state of Mississippi on the Mississippi State University campus. Police jurisdiction includes all university-owned, rented, or leased property. The University Police Department stresses staff education in the form of in-service training and participation in local and state training seminars.
University Police Department radio dispatchers operate the department's telephones and two-way radios on a 24-hour basis to provide information and respond to emergencies. All emergency calls should be made to the campus 911 system. Dispatchers can contact the fire department, other area law enforcement agencies, or emergency medical services by direct phone line or radio. Personnel also monitor the National Weather Service radio network. A campus-wide alerting system warns of threatening weather conditions.
Crime prevention at Mississippi State University is a community-based program. Its main goal is to improve the quality of life for members of the campus community, and involvement by all members of the campus community is essential to its success. The University Police Department provides leadership and direction for this effort.
A community often evaluates police performance on the basis of factors such as response time to calls for service, interactions with individual officers, and satisfaction with the handling of calls for service. Overall police performance, however, is more appropriately measured in terms of increased or decreased crime. Often overlooked are the efforts of police to prevent crime by taking a proactive stance.
At Mississippi State University, positive changes and state-of-the-art crime prevention efforts complement reactive measures. A variety of proactive crime prevention efforts are in use by the University Police Department. Visible patrol units either walk the campus or patrol on bicycles or in marked vehicles. "Campus Watch" encourages faculty, staff, and students to be watchful for potential crime on campus. "Operation Identification" is a program of identifying personal property that is stored on campus. The "Bully Patrol" is available to provide walking or riding escorts across campus. Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) classes for women are held several times a semester.
Mississippi State's crime prevention program stresses community awareness and interaction. The University Police Department disseminates materials and makes presentations to acquaint students, faculty, and staff with their responsibility to help reduce the potential for a crime to occur. Programs range from crime prevention presentations to on-site inspections. University police officers give presentations throughout the university community, including late night talks in residence halls and specially designed programs for interested campus groups. Topics range from personal safety and residence hall security to date rape and vehicle protection. The importance of citizen involvement in crime reporting is emphasized.
Students, faculty and staff members individually receive pamphlets and fliers that encourage crime reporting. Crime prevention pamphlets are provided to all new students and faculty and staff members at orientation programs. Information also is presented to the campus through the media.
For more information concerning crime prevention programs or reporting procedures for crime, please contact the Crime Prevention Coordinator at 325-9149.
MONITORING AND RECORDING CRIME AT
OFF-CAMPUS STUDENT LOCATIONS THROUGH
LOCAL POLICE AGENCIES
The educational process is a dynamic process that involves learning, living, and socializing at on- and off-campus locations for our students. Some fraternities have their facilities located off-campus. Additionally, there are many privately owned apartment complexes in the community in which many of our students reside. Because of this relationship with the community, the Mississippi State University endeavors to obtain, to the extent possible, reports of crimes at off-campus fraternities recognized by the University or other off-campus locations frequented by students.
The Mississippi State University Police Department works closely with the Starkville Police Department and Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Office to address issues of crime, safety, and security at both on- and off-campus locations. While the Starkville Police Department and the Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Department cannot isolate the crime statistics for each off-campus location in which students reside or frequent, they do provide the crime statistics for the community as a whole. Additionally, these agencies share with the Mississippi State University Police Department information about all criminal incidents that are reported at off-campus fraternities.
Weapons on campus
The possession of any weapon on campus is of serious concern to the University. Under most circumstances, possession of a weapon is a violation of university policy and state law. Any individual found in possession of a weapon may be subject to arrest and confiscation of the weapon. Additionally, students shall immediately be suspended from classes pending a disciplinary hearing, and faculty and staff may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. The University Police Department does not store weapons. An individual living on-campus that wishes to have access to a weapon for hunting or other legal purposes must make arrangements to store the weapon off-campus.
FOR GENERAL INFORMATION, CONTACT:
- Dean of Students Office, 662-325-3611
- MSU Chief of Police, 662-325-1810
- Director of Housing and Residence Life, 662-325-3557
- Counseling Center, 662-325-2091