Crime on and around campus has significantly increased over the past several months.
The Carrollton Police Department has received calls about shootings, armed robberies, carjackings and rape accusations. According to Corporal Vonda Thomas of the Carrollton Police Department, the most common occurrences are happening during and after college parties.
“We get calls every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night at apartment complexes,” said Thomas of the Carrollton Police Department. “Basically you are running from apartment complex to apartment complex.”
While the fall semester brings about new classes and teachers, it also brings about wild parties that escalate into violence throughout the night.
“I think that back in the day, most kids came to college to get an education,” said Thomas. ”Not to say that’s not true for a lot of people nowadays, but I think a lot of people come to school to party.”
Parties typically happen Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights around the UWG campus. They start out small and increase as the night progresses. Thomas stated that apartment residents invite friends and significant others, which, more times than not, has a negative outcome.
“A lot of times those are the ones causing problems,” said Thomas. “Somebody gets upset at a party, and there is smoking and drinking going on; they’re pulling out guns and shooting.”
Thomas vocalized that the society we are living in today, particularly in regards to the millennial generation, yields an abundance of disrespect and easy access to weapons, drugs and alcohol. Combining those evils brings about the worst in people and leads to risky situations.
“I went to West Georgia 20 years ago, and it’s totally different from when I went,” said Thomas. “I think it’s the society we are living in now. It’s the kids we are raising. I think the kids are totally different from my generation. The young kids now are carrying more weapons. They’re smoking more weed.”
Thomas also voiced her concern about the lack of a screening process for student shuttles. There is no apparent identification process in place. Therefore, both students and non-students can ride as they please. This not only puts the safety of students at risk, but also raises apprehension about the actual safety and security measures that the university puts into action.
“I also think that West Georgia is not screening their students as well as they used to,” said Thomas. “I don’t know if it is just because they are trying to get attendance up. It seems like to me that they just let anybody in now.”
Much of the crime around campus may also be accredited to the national political uproar in regards to police brutality and the “Black Lives Matter” outcry. Students and apartment residents blatantly disrespect the police who respond to perimeter campus calls. Thomas explained that when officers respond to these perimeter campus calls, the residents use excessive profanity towards them and tell them to get a warrant.
“It’s just the times we are living in. The students have lost so much respect, especially for the police,” said Thomas. “When I went to school people were intimidated by the police. We were fearful, but respectful. I don’t know how you get the mindset of the students to change. I don’t know how you do that. Times have changed with this generation– period.”
The city of Carrollton has many options to make students and surrounding residents feel safer. The Carrollton Police Department offers the Citizen Police Academy once a year that begins in January and lasts 8-9 weeks. Throughout the academy, participants can take part in ride alongs, go to the shooting range, and take a look at homicide and gang-related investigations with officers. Local retail store and gun range, Shot Spot, also offers shooting and self-defense classes throughout the year. While crime may be on the rise, there are many options for students and residents to better educate themselves about protection should they feel unsafe or be faced with fearful situations.