Message from the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Chief of Police re: Safety

Southern Miss Students,

Over the past few days, the University Police Department (UPD) has received numerous calls and emails referencing widespread social media reports that describe criminal activity on the Hattiesburg campus—the latest indicating an incident occurred at Scianna Hall on Tuesday evening. Like similar social media reports from late last week, UPD believes that this social media report is inaccurate. UPD does not have a record of this incident, nor was it reported to UPD. While officers continue to follow up on concerning social media posts, no evidence exists of a crime as it was described in the social media post.

We absolutely want you to know that we hear your concerns about safety on our campuses. While there is rightfully increased attention on human trafficking across the country, in our state and in the media, to date there have been no known cases of human trafficking at USM. We should be and remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent crime, including violent crimes against women, but we ask your assistance in refraining from sharing unsubstantiated social media posts.

As a reminder, the best ways for you to prevent criminal activity are to educate yourself on personal safety measures, to be aware of your surroundings at all times, and to contact UPD immediately if you see or hear suspicious activity. UPD and other USM personnel are consistently monitoring social media in an effort to respond to items of student concern, but the successful resolution of many incidents is often dependent upon quick police response—and the most efficient and direct way for you to inform UPD is by calling 601.266.4986 or 911 in an emergency.

Should you wish to view statistics on crimes that have been committed at The University of Southern Mississippi, that information is contained in the Annual Security/Fire Safety Report. This document also contains contact information for resources available to victims of crimes, crime prevention strategies, and more. You may also review and take advantage of the many Crime Prevention Services offered by the University Police Department. If ever you feel threatened, view, or hear of suspicious activity, UPD is available to assist, including providing transportation.

The professional men and women who work at UPD are here to serve and protect you, and we are proud that USM’s police department is the first and one of only two university police departments in Mississippi to hold a national accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. This accreditation comes only after an agency has proven it has satisfactorily completed a continuous process of thorough, agency-wide self-evaluation, meeting the criteria of 189 standards set by the commission.

If you have questions about campus safety, we are happy to answer them in person, by phone or via email. We can be reached at deedee.anderson@usm.edu or 601.266.5021, or rusty.keyes@usm.edu or 601.266.4946.

Sincerely,

Dr. Dee Dee Anderson
Vice President for Student Affairs

Rusty Keyes
Chief, University Police Department

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