New study ranks FGCU low in school safety

The National Council For Home and Safety conducted a study on the safest colleges in America with Florida Gulf Coast University coming in tenth place among Florida schools.

FGCU ranked 313 out of 490 colleges in America, leaving many students with mixed reactions.

Many FGCU students say they see the University Police Department around campus often, but there are many areas that are completely dark at night and that could lead to problems.

For student Denniel Johnston, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas graduate that survived the mass shooting on Feb. 14, 2018 that killed 14 classmates, says school security was a top issue when deciding where to go to college.

“My mom, because I went to Stoneman Douglas last year, was always like, ‘I need to make sure you have help right away and always be safe,'” Johnston said.

But, for the most part, Johnston feels FGCU has a safe campus.

“I feel somewhat safe because every where you look there’s cops, everywhere. Always circulating,” Johnston said.

But, based off of this new report on the “Safest Colleges in America,” it paints a different picture based on law enforcement and FBI crime reports.

FGCU ranks low when it comes to safety for students. But, Johnston understands that one can never be too careful.

“One girl was almost kidnapped and they [UPD] sent an email out about it,” Johnston said.

MORE: Attempted kidnapping near FGCU campus, suspect sought

That incident happened last September. A woman reported to police a man tried to kidnap her while she was walking in the parking lot of her student housing complex. Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers is still asking for the community to submit tips on this incident. All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $3,000.

MORE: Potential sighting of attempted kidnapper has FGCU students worried

WINK News archives show at least eight violent crimes on or near the college campus.

“We don’t have a position on it, but I can tell you that our University Police Department does not put much stock in these ‘studies’ as I’m told there are great variances with the methodologies used. Our FGCU campus is a very safe place for those of us who study, work and visit here,” said FGCU spokesperson Susan Evans when asked for a statement on the new study.

But, students say there are still areas on campus that can improve.

“I think there should be more lights around campus because it does get dark around here,” said FGCU student Zariya Harris. “I think it is up to the student most of the times. To always be aware of your surroundings and travel in pairs, especially at night.”

According to the new study, Florida SouthWestern State College ranked the safest school in Florida. It came in at No. 20.

To see the full safest school report, click here.

Reporter:John-Carlos Estrada
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