Morgan Fights Crime Increase with Blue Security Booths

The MSU Spokesman

photo-3Stationed on Hillen Road, like the beacon towers on the Great Wall of China, several little blue security booths, just over a month old, examine each specimen trotting by. The new additions are just one of the many developments happening around Morgan in the recent campus  infrastructure makeover.

Adrian Wiggins, the executive director of the Office of Campus and Public Safety, says these booths have given the community a sense of safety. “People feel better walking down the street at night. You know, the lights are on, you see someone out there. It helps. It helps.”

Hussein Khan Bey, a senior majoring in physical therapy, glances at the booths every day en route to class. “It was long overdue,” Bey says.

Five security booths were constructed over the summer with four being strategically placed on Hillen Road and the other by Rawlings Dining Hall.  In these locations, guards can easily clock all traffic to and from campus.

“The strategy was, we look at the crimes that have occurred in the past,” Wiggins said in a recent safety press conference with students.  “We look at which vantage points are going to be most advantageous for us to have someone to be able to observe students and faculty moving throughout Hillen Road.”

Guards operate the booths from around the time night classes conclude until 4:00 a.m.

Morgan’s most recent Clery report, released on September 30, shows a jump in campus robberies.  Last year, the number of robberies peaked at 19, up six from the previous year and eight from 2010.

In an email sent to the university at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year and just off the heels of the campus crime spree last year where one student was shot and another stabbed, Morgan’s President David Wilson assured students and staff that these tiny security booths would make a huge difference in campus safety.

Just feet away from a security booth near the intersection of Argonne and Hillen Road, two students were allegedly robbed at gunpoint back in September.  The on-duty security officer saw nothing, an event that leaves Wiggins and Morgan  police puzzled.

“We’re having a very difficult time in piecing together what went on,” Wiggins said in an interview.

Shalonta Bowman, a Morgan senior, assumes that the robbery allegation is true and says she has had it with Morgan’s lack of security. “That means someone is not doing their job and it defeats the entire purpose of why they were put there in the first place,” the psychology major says.

Bey, while thinking the booths to be a good idea, questions their effectiveness since they bare apparent deficiencies. “There aren’t real security guards in them. I guess they’re just there to scare people off.”

Not all Morganites view the booths as scarecrows warding off criminals from afar. Students who appreciate the booths’ presence anticipate them bringing a sense of comfort around campus.

Campus-Map-5-30-09 progress1.1“They’re here to make Morgan’s campus a little safer,” says Shana Wright, a former Morgan student. Wright welcomes the efforts, but believes even more can be done. “If you want to make sure everything is safe, why not extend the hours? I know they can’t always catch everything, but at least [more] effort would be put forth.”

Wiggins urges students and the surrounding community to also put forth more effort in making Morgan a secure university. “[Security booths are] going to help, but the biggest thing that any community can do is for the members to be security guards, and that’s the most effective thing.”