Salisbury, SU examine possible loitering measure

A city anti-loitering ordinance is being considered, as well as more cameras and emergency blue light phones on the Salisbury University campus, following recent assaults near SU.

Safety measures were discussed when Salisbury University President Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach and Mayor Jake Day met with representatives from government, education, business and law enforcement on Friday.

Also planned are possible staffing changes on the University Police force and a review of protocols between those officers and student affairs officials. Law enforcement and education leaders discussed ways to improve communication among agencies.

The first priority is safety of students, Dudley-Eshbach stressed.

Day told the Salisbury Independent the Salisbury Police Department will be “expanding our camera network, increasing patrols around the university, holding regular intelligence sharing sessions between local agencies and expanding the city’s new Youth Development Advisory Committee to include a Public Safety subcommittee.”

The mayor also said it’s safer for students to ride the Downtown Trolley; he offered to talk to concerned parents of SU students.

All violent crime in Salisbury has dropped 8.25 percent from this time last year. Although property crimes in the city have declined, juvenile arrests are increasing, Day said.

A joint news release issued by SU and the mayor’s office, after the meeting, reviewed events that occurred during the past few weeks.

They include a student and others being assaulted and robbed at Cedar Crossing, a student being assaulted and robbed near the tennis courts, another student being hit and inappropriately touched on Bateman Street and a university police officer being assaulted when trying to make an arrest following an attempted bike theft near Bateman.

All incidents involved local youth.

“Each of the incidents is being investigated by the appropriate authorities and I’m gratified that a number of arrests have been made,” Dudley-Eshbach said.

“Some of these (incidents) led to injuries, which could have been far worse. Although I feel that generally our campus is safe, we want to be diligent in our follow-up and in working with other agencies,” she said.

Day praised the working relationship between SU and the community and said he wants to “place these events in a context of patterns and trends.”

In May, when the Youth Development Advisory Committee was formed, Day said the city has had a “declining crime rate year after year, declining adult crime rate and adult arrests (but a) relatively growing juvenile problem.”

“We’ve got to do something for our kids,” he said, envisioning role models for boys who are “upstanding men” and mentors for girls who model strong self-esteem.

“All those are really good lessons. We could be a government that never talked about those things, but if we ignore this, and we ignore the next generation and what they need to be positive, we would be shortchanging our youth,” he said.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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