The University of Memphis could be known for its sports teams and alumni. What is not discussed often outside of campus is how the U of M is the safest large campus in Tennessee compared to other major colleges and universities in the state, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s (TBI) annual “Crime on Campus” report.
In an email sent to all students and staff by Chief of Police Mary Balee, she notes how consistent the U of M has been with a statistically safer campus.
“Over the last five years, the U of M consistently has the lowest-reported crime rate among the 10 largest public and private universities in Tennessee,” Balee said in the email.
The TBI’s annual report provides statistics that show the U of M had a 13.5 percent decrease of overall reported crime on campus last year. This accumulates all reported crimes varying from weapon laws, drugs and narcotics, theft and rape, as well as many other categories. The U of M’s reported crimes in 2017 was 12.7 percent per 1,000 campus population. This is the lowest rate for the university since they began tracking crimes in this manner since 2000.
Triple the amount of cases were cleared in 2017 compared to crimes from 2016. A case is cleared when an arrest has been made or the crime has been solved for reporting purposes. In 2016, 22 percent of the incidents reported were cleared, but in 2017, 71 percent of the crimes were cleared.
The most reported crime yearly is larceny and theft offenses, with 118.3 crimes per year since 2015. Last year, these crimes decreased to 113 larceny and theft crimes reported.
A significant decrease in drug and narcotic violations was seen last year, with only 19 offenses reported, compared to 42 the previous year. It has not been this low since 2010, when only 15 offenses were reported.
Forcible rape crimes have increased since 2010. No rape crimes were reported in 2014, one was reported in 2015 and three were reported in 2016. Five crimes under this category were reported in 2017. All five forcible rape crimes were cleared last year, but none were cleared the other years.
Some students have said positive things about the university helping the campus feel safer for everyone. Brennan Sandefer, a freshman political science and theater double major, said he feels better knowing his female friends are in better surroundings walking to class.
“It’s better for them to feel safe in an environment,” Sandefer said. “I feel like since the crime rate has dropped, they feel a little better.”
The university also keeps up with letting students know about major incidents or events that involve crime on or near campus, and some students like Gabriella Dugas, a freshman pre-nursing major, appreciate how the administration contacts them quickly.
“I do like the emails we get from the president that make me feel a little bit more secure,” Dugas said.
Jerrica Henderson, a senior biology major, said over the time she has been a student, she feels safer seeing police patrolling the campus. She also said it makes her glad to know her money to pay for school is going to good use.
“Knowing how much we pay for tuition and stuff, it is great knowing that crime is going down,” Henderson said.