MPD, UTM police increase patrol with new school year

MARTIN, Tenn. — With the first day of college in the books for UT Martin students, police are stepping up their game to keep everyone safe.

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 5.27.06 PMThe Martin Police Department said as their population increases with the new school year, so do their responsibilities.

“We have a town that normally has 10,000 to 11,000 people in it, and then when school starts back we gain another 4,000 to 5,000,” Martin Police Department Capt. Phillip Fuqua said. “We change out focus on places that we run radar, we watch speeds, that kind of thing, especially on University Street and the area of the admin building, all the student crosswalks.”

MPD said they ramp up when the college comes alive in the fall to prevent students from becoming victims of crime, particularly car and apartment burglaries.

“A lot of people may misinterpret the students coming to town as where we have a lot more trouble with the students, but in actuality what it is it creates a massive amount of potential victims,” Capt. Fuqua said.

Officers say 95 percent of their car burglaries happen because of unlocked doors or valuables out in the open, and they say with school back in session they want to remind everyone to keep their valuables with them and lock their doors.

Police are also warning people about the increase in foot traffic.

“We really like the people to slow down that are riding the streets adjacent to campus,” UTM Police Lt. Jerry Garcia said. “We have a new flashing light system that’s really been beneficial.”

MPD also received highway safety grants to add extra patrols at night to keep an eye on those drinking.

“It allows us to have a couple guys come in and work four-hour blocks to deter underage drinking, and so that program picks itself back up as soon as the students come back,” Capt. Fuqua said.

Officers also encourage those walking around campus to be aware of their surroundings, avoiding headphones and texting while crossing major roads.

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