Campus crime rates declining under UPD initiatives


Austin O'Brien

To keep students informed, UPD police chief Michael Beckner writes a monthly “Chief’s Brief,” where he talks about recent events regarding UPD and SLU.

With the tragic shooting of Allison Rice right outside of Louisiana State University, many at Southeastern are wondering how crime rates stand this semester when compared to others. 

In the Fall 2022 semester, SLU’s University Police Department is reporting crime rates are down overall compared to past semesters. Information on these crime rates is available to the public as all of SLU’s major crimes are recorded in a Campus Crime and Fire Log, which acts as a way for the public to get transparency when it comes to what investigations on campus are open, ongoing or closed. More minor crimes like speeding tickets are not included.

Chief of University Police Michael Beckner reported that, so far, crime rates have been down overall for this semester compared to previous ones.

“There are many areas where crime is down for Southeastern. Assaults, sexual assaults and other major crimes are all down. Thefts are on par, we’ve had about four bikes stolen so far this semester. Areas where crime is up are mostly in vehicle accidents and speeding tickets, but overall our crime rates are down,” Beckner said.

Beckner also expressed his condolences for Rice’s death and emphasized the university is making every effort to ensure higher safety rates at Southeastern. 

“Allison Rice’s death was sad and shocking–people go to college to get an education and have to deal with incidents like that. At the UPD, we’re striving to make sure incidents like that don’t happen on our campus. Of course, we’re always looking for more ways to improve, but we believe that what we’re doing right now is going very well. We have great interactions with our community, we’re educating people how to be safe, and so much more,” Beckner said.

One effort to support student safety is the UPD’s new app, Lion Safe. Within just over a month, UPD saw the app downloaded 3000 times and used every day by the SLU community. 

The most popular component of the app is the Friend Walk, with 52% of app usage towards the feature. Friend Walk allows someone of your choice to observe where you are until you reach your destination safely. The other 48% is Mobile BlueLight, where a UPD officer monitors your route rather than a friend.

Even with the recent successes of Lion Safe, Chief Beckner presses for everyone to use the app, especially faculty and staff of SLU.

“While we do have a lot of students using the app, one place we’d like to grow is faculty involvement with Lion Safe. The app is for everyone, not just our students,” Beckner said.

Regular updates from the UPD can be seen in the monthly “Chief’s Brief” in every student’s email. 

The UPD will also be holding an “Active Assailant Training” next Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 5:30 p.m. in the Student Union Theater. The training will help students learn how to protect themselves and others in an active shooter scenario.