USC president responds to on-campus crime

dprice@thestate.comFebruary 20, 2013 

— After the third violent crime reported around the University of South Carolina’s campus in a week, school president Harris Pastides sent a letter to students, faculty and staff promising continued vigilance against crime.

The letter was sent about a day after the most recent incident, in which a woman was sexually assaulted and robbed while walking on campus, and announces the addition of six new campus police officers and promises more officers in the future as part of a three-year hiring program. The university also will make additional investments in technology and other tools to deter crime, Pastides writes.

“I am outraged that our campus has fallen victim to senseless violence and I assure each of you that I will do all that I can to continue to make this campus safe for students, faculty and staff,” Pastides wrote.

In the letter, Pastides said he will speak with Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin about crime on campus, and that he has already spoken with Columbia Police Department officials to “step-up ... ongoing collaborations with the city.”

Currently, the Columbia Police Department and the university’s law enforcement division have a mutual aid agreement to share information and resources. The university usually handles all incidents on campus, including on-campus roads, but Columbia police will patrol near campus and assist as calls come in. The university’s police force also helps city police in Five Points.

There have been three instances of violent crime in the past week.

If you know anything about the incidents, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC or www.sccrimestoppers.com.

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