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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Georgia Tech, APD to beef up police presence around campus, deploy uber-sexy cruiser after student robberies

During off-duty hours, vehicle will probably be used in drag races near Hahira
Mayor Kasim Reed, frustrated over repeated crimes around Georgia Tech, is promising "aggressive" law enforcement after another rash of headline-grabbing robberies near the university.

The campus police department yesterday announced it will conduct nightly joint patrols with Atlanta Police in a new high-tech cruiser — a "gunmetal gray" Dodge Charger Enforcer II (PDF), for all you car buffs — to increase public safety.

An APD officer will team up with a Georgia Tech officer and patrol the campus, Home Park, Atlantic Station, and Midtown in the $37,000 cruiser, which was purchased with donations from the Midtown Alliance, the Home Park Community Improvement Association, the Atlanta Police Foundation, and North American Properties, which manages Atlantic Station. The vehicle will complement planned and existing patrols already taking place around the clock, which includes Tech officers keeping watch on campus and APD officers working the surrounding neighborhoods. A surveillance tower has also been dispatched.

"This is above and beyond everything else," an APD spokesman says. "Above and beyond every Georgia Tech patrol car that's working. Above and beyond every APD car working that beat."

According to crime stats from the APD provided by the university, the number of on-campus crimes has dropped substantially from 2008, when Tech police say the vast majority of the nearly 180 reported robberies, assaults, and burglaries were committed on campus. The number of those crimes occurring off-campus is starting to increase, however.

The uptick in crimes has renewed an effort by some students (and the National Rifle Association) to urge the Board of Regents to lift a concealed-weapons ban on campus. Tech President Bud Peterson opposes the idea.

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