BU News Service
Despite the declining rate of crime on college campuses, the number of officers in campus police forces has increased, according to a report from the U.S. justice department. 92 percent of public universities nationwide have a campus police force of sworn and armed officers.
The Department of Public Safety at the University of Massachusetts Boston is the force that patrols the campus in Harbor Point. According to their website, all UMass Boston officers have the same training and authority as officers throughout the state. As for the department’s services, the website lists “criminal investigations” and “crime prevention” as two examples of the force’s duties.
Students at the university, however, feel the campus police have a much simpler role on campus.
“For the most part, I haven’t really interacted at all with the police besides when I’ve been parking, I see them and they help us cross and stuff like that,” Megan Crowley, a UMass student who recently transferred from the University of Vermont (UVM), said.
The campus is currently undergoing mass construction, part of the university’s 25-year Master Plan, which outlined plans to “transform the campus into a cutting edge, sustainable, and attractive environment,” according to the university’s website. As a result of this construction, students say the number of police officers in the main university parking lot has increased to help with traffic concerns.
“For me, they’ve only been useful at the parking lots because the shuttle buses were going past the students and not actually stopping for us, so the UMass police did something about it,” Tajyana McCanns, a junior at UMass Boston, said.
According to McCanns, the police do not do much other than patrol the parking lots and attempt to enforce the university’s new smoke-free campus rule.
According to the university’s Annual Security report, crime rates are down both on and off campus since 2012. In 2012 there were 14 reports of robbery and 19 reports of aggravated assault, however in 2014 there were only 2 cases reported in each of those categories. However, in 2014 the university added 4 non-sworn Police recruits to its force.
John Carrigan, also a junior, agreed with McCanns’ assertion of the lack of police involvement.
“I don’t really like them. They don’t talk to anyone, they mind their own business,” Carrigan said. “I guess it’s good to prevent whatever, but nothing really happens.”