USC Will Pay LAPD For Police Officers, Increased Security Measures
“We are greatly increasing our collaboration with the LAPD to ensure the safety of our students,” said Nikias, standing beside Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck at the university’s Town and Gown room.
Since the double homicide of two USC graduate students from China – Ying Wu and Ming Qu – on April 11, Nikias has been pressed by local media and concerned parents to ramp up the university's security.
In addition to the four LAPD officers stationed on campus, Chief Beck said the LAPD will assign a detective to specifically investigate cases near USC and help the university upgrade its video surveillance network. The additional 30 officers assigned to Southwest will join the 400 sworn officers currently stationed at the division.
USC will also increase the number of DPS patrol cars in the campus’ surrounding neighborhoods.
In spite of the planned security upgrades, Beck reiterated that crime near USC is on the decline.
"I want to be clear -- crime is not up at USC," Beck said. "This is an awful, singular event. It is not a trend."
Crime in the Southwest Division has dropped 27 percent over the past two years and is down an additional 20 percent thus far in 2012, Beck said. He added that the increased security measures will only further reduce crime figures in USC's surrounding neighborhoods.
"When you have a tragedy like this, you've got to double down," Villaraigosa said at the presser.
Wu and Qu were shot dead on April 11 in what investigators have called a "botched car-jacking" in West Adams, a neighborhood near USC where the students lived.
Addressing concerns of off-campus housing, Nikias said the university plans to build an additional 5,000 student-housing beds – 3,000 allocated specifically for graduate students – through renovating the University Village, adjacent to the campus. The hope is that the construction of more student housing closer to campus will reduce the risk of students becoming the victims of violent crime.
While Nikias said he did not yet know how much the increased security measures would cost the university, LAPD Cpt. Andrew Smith said it would be a sizeable investment.One LAPD officer costs the city roughly $150,000 a year, a figure that includes salary, benefits such as health care, and a car, among other expenses, Smith said. With those figures in mind, USC will be spending at least $600,000 on the four LAPD officers stationed on campus.
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