Safety plan finalized for students, apartments near MTSU

(Photo: WKRN)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – After nearly four months, a plan for keeping students safe at apartment complexes surrounding the Middle Tennessee State University campus has finally been completed.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the city of Murfreesboro and MTSU was finalized and signed last week.

Murders, attempted murder, shootings, and other violent crimes have plagued apartment complexes surrounding the MTSU campus.

The bottom line is to keep students and the public safe on and off campus.

“In order to combat that, this MOU is one piece of that overall puzzle to bring formal communications and options to officers,” Murfreesboro police Sgt. Kyle Evans said.

(Photo: WKRN)

The MOU includes MTSU broadening patrol areas surrounding campus. Twelve apartment complexes near the university have been targeted as part of a safety standard program.

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“Crime prevention by environmental design, leases that will allow landlords to evict people who are dealing drugs or engaging in violent crime,” Evans told News 2.

As part of a crime-free, multi-housing initiative, Murfreesboro police will be adding police resources dedicated to helping to reduce crime.

“The additional resources this additional unit their focus will be to certify apartment complexes as safe places for student housing,” explained the sergeant. “All parents want to send their kids to college and know they are living in a safe place.”

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Murfreesboro police will add additional officers solely dedicated to working those apartment complexes. MTSU will also be sending officers to training.

“That is part of the MOU that we feel like will help in the advancement of safety particularly in this case off campus, but it can help us on campus as well,” MTSU Police Chief Buddy Peaster said.

Both departments will assist each other with criminal activity, crowd control, crime prevention, and even natural disasters.

“In this case, I think both of us working together, it could create that relationship and add to the safety of the surrounding community,” Peaster said.

There had been some talk about MTSU police being allowed to patrol the parking lots of apartment complexes surrounding campus, but we were told because of liability reasons that was not part of the agreement.

The crime-free multi-housing initiative was modeled after a program in California. Police said some cities saw a 40-percent reduction in crime after the program began.

To read the MOU in it’s entirely, click here.