Middle Tennessee universities increase security to protect students on and off campus


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Victims grabbed from behind by a stranger and two attempted kidnappings were three different cases involving college students this year near Belmont and Vanderbilt Universities.

These crimes have both parents and students concerned. The stories are not uncommon.

Colleges are working diligently to protect students on and off-campus.

Vanderbilt University tells News 2 safety is a top priority for their police department. The department’s Community Relations Division provides educational programs on a variety of topics to the community on topics that include: 

  • Rape and sexual assault risk reduction
  • Domestic violence education
  • Workplace violence education
  • Personal safety
  • R.A.D. (Rape Aggression Defense Systems)
  • Victim assistance
  • Sexual assault
  • Alcohol and drug awareness
  • Travel safety
  • Property protection (this includes information on fraud, personal property and university property)
  • If a topic of interest is not listed above, programs can be tailored to meet the needs of individual groups

Two miles away at Tennessee State University, Chief Gregory Robinson is keeping an eye on all crime in Music City.

“It’s very concerning, and I think if any law enforcement personnel tells you that they aren’t concerned, speaking for me, it’s very concerning, and I wouldn’t say they aren’t being honest, but it’s something we see daily,” Chief Robinson said.

Robinson stepped into his current role five-and-a-half years ago at his alma mater. He incorporated his past experiences as an MNPD officer and leadership roles at Vanderbilt University to make changes.

Over the last couple of years, TSU has added hundreds more cameras, a high-tech security system in every building, brighter lighting, and emergency call boxes.

He and his 27 officers have gained national praise. The National Council for Home Safety and Security listed TSU in the top 8% of colleges with the lowest crime rates.

“We wanted to change the narrative at my arrival, and I think we’ve done that, but we are never satisfied,” Chief Robinson said. “We want to sustain the success with hiring more officers, more technology, and even inclusive training.”

From the moment students first walk onto campus and become a TSU Tiger, police make sure they know they are being protected.

“We have separate orientation situations with our freshmen, and I am on those calls,” said Chief Robinson. “We give safety tips, explain that we are a full-fledged certified department with full police powers. But, we are not here to be authoritative so much as we are here to serve.”

This fall, TSU will offer more safety courses, including how to arrive to your destination safely.

“It evolves ,and the thought process changes everyday,” Chief Robinson said. “Just like computers, when individuals do things and they may have got caught this time, they look at a better way to do it next time, so we have to find a better way to do it ourselves.”

The department wants to remind the campus community if you see something, say something.

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