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Cumberland maintains low campus crime rate, no violent crimes in 2016

Jake Old • Mar 16, 2017 at 1:31 PM

Cumberland University maintained a low crime rate in 2016, including no reported violent crimes in the year, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s annual Crime on Campus study.

The TBI releases data on the number of total offenses reported on each college campus in the state, including a breakdown of what types of offenses were reported and how many cases were cleared.

In 2016, Cumberland had six total offenses reported, down from 16 total offenses in 2015.

Of the six offenses, there were three reported burglaries, one theft from a building, one theft from a motor vehicle and one incident of driving under the influence.

Phil Carter, executive director of communications and marketing for Cumberland, said campus security is an important issue to university officials.

“We are very proud of the type of campus we promote,” Carter said. “We take campus safety and campus well being very seriously.”

School officials said there are numerous measures taken to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff on campus, including a state-of-the-art security camera system, phones around campus that can instantly dial campus security, emergency text message alerts and educational opportunities for students.

“A lot these students who come to campus, it’s their first time living away from home,” said Mike Thornhill, chief of campus security.

“We have to try to teach them to keep their dorms locked, their cars locked and not have valuables out in the open. If there’s someone on campus who wants to do something bad, and they see a computer or money out in the open, they’re going to go for it.”

The emergency text messaging system sends out notifications for any emergency situation, including weather-related emergencies.

Thornhill said he works closely with local law enforcement and emergency management agencies to ensure if there are any threats near campus, he will be alerted to them as soon as possible.

Thornhill regularly meets with security chiefs from other nearby college campuses to discuss issues they see on their campuses, and he can learn of anything that could be an issue for Cumberland in the future. He also meets with members of the Police Chiefs Association regularly.

In 2015, two rapes were reported on campus. In 2016, there were no violent crimes reported.

“When families look at Cumberland as a possible option for a student’s education, campus safety is among the things we get the most questions about,” Carter said.

“We’re proud to tell parents and students they can expect a safe environment at Cumberland.”

Thornhill said the university always looks to improve its security measures, and he already knows of some things that could be implemented in the future.

“We don’t just wait for bad things to happen,” Carter said. “We try to be very proactive.” 

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