Coahoma Ranks Fifth Safest, Upgrades Surveillance
CLARKSDALE – For the third consecutive year, Coahoma Community College has been ranked among the top five safest colleges and universities in the state.
Mississippi colleges and universities are ranked each year based on data submitted annually to the US Department of Education. Factors used in determining each school’s campus crime statistics include the number of arrests made on campus as well as the number of campus violations referred to the Dean of Students. The total number of incidents is then scaled per 100 students in 10 areas.
CCC was only applicable in two areas, receiving a .10 for arrests and .25 in local crimes, and placing the school in fifth place, after Itawamba Community College, Delta Technical College, Mississippi University for Women and Antonelli College-Jackson respectively.
It’s a distinction that CCC’s Director of Safety William Houston attributes to the cooperation of students and the hard work of the college’s police force, which includes 8 full-time and 6 part-time officers.
“We have a great group of young adults out here that are here to do what they’re supposed to do—whether it be academics or athletics. …They’re not out here doing things to hurt or harm so that helps a lot,” Houston said.
“We’re not just number 5 among the 15 Mississippi community colleges but among all colleges and universities in the state, so that’s pretty big. Although we fell from number one in both 2011 and 2012, we’re the only school that’s been able to maintain a Top 5 rating.”
According to Houston, the four rankings fall was not the result of an increase in criminal incidents, but were the result of arrests made due to warrants issued after an individual filed a complaint against another individual. He said he’s been able to keep criminal activity to a minimum by maintaining a strong police presence on campus.
“You know how they say be everywhere at the same time—we do a really good job of that. By maintaining visibility, one of the things I tell my officers is that we can count the crimes that occur on our campus, but we can’t count the crimes that we deter. I think that’s what we should be all about, deterring crime.”
In an effort to do just that, CCC has also recently updated its surveillance system to its off-campus Workforce Development Center located on Sunbelt Drive.
According to Vice President for Workforce Development Steven Jossell, the department made the upgrade Tuesday (Jan. 7).
“Due to the fact of the new gun law, we thought it would be good to take some type of initiative to maximize that safety here at the center. It not only improves safety for students but for staff members as well. We can now recognize a threat before hand and be proactive rather than reactive,” Jossell said.
With the upgrade, the officer on duty as well as staff members will have access to the surveillance system and can now view it from their workstations. The department is also currently in the process of giving all staff members access to system in real-time, Jossell said.
“That was one of the few buildings that didn’t come with a camera system in place, but now it’s in pretty good shape,” said Houston.
According to Houston, CCC’s main campus features about 90 surveillance cameras.
“We don’t want to be intrusive to our students, so by adding the surveillance system we can let our students feel like young adults, but still keep an eye on what’s happening. It’s a win-win situation for the police department, the institution and the students as well,” said Houston.
Houston believes the upgrade is just one of the ways CCC will regain its top spot.
“With the continued help of the faculty, staff and our student body, I think we can maintain a safe campus here at Coahoma Community College. We dropped down to number five, but we’re pushing to be number one again next year.”
For more details of CCC’s ranking, or to see how other colleges and universities across the state scored, visit Stateuniversity.com