Are we safe in campus housing?

After an armed robbery last week inside the University Commons, students around campus wonder how the suspects entered the building without being stopped.

In a meeting to address the issue, Georgia State University Police, University Housing and faculty members from the office of Student Affairs discussed what exactly was done after the incident occurred Thursday evening on Oct. 24.

Officials assured students that although the crime did happen, the system had not failed.

“We had about I’m guessing 50 people or so show up, and the purpose of it was to share within the limits the most accurate information we have at this time,” Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Douglass F. Covey said. “We want students to know how to access support services that they need.”

He added that the 700 security cameras installed throughout student housing were able to identify all three 18-year-old suspects as Quinton Arnold, Dantevious Patrick and Dorian Demetrius Stroud.

“This is my fourth year staying in the Commons. I’m a senior this year and I’ve never heard of anything like this before,” nursing major Valencia said.

Yet, students have brought the issue of student safety and security to the forefront, saying the incident could have been prevented.

Commons Director of Housing Dr. Marilyn A. De LaRoche noted that the person in charge of elevator security did not check identification last night, which is an imperative regulation for access to the dorms. Instead, the criminals were simply able to get in based on the security cards they were able to attain.

“When you have a security system like the one that we have at the University Commons that has human components in it, human error will always be inherent in the system,” Corbett said.“The failure of the people checking ID’s in the lobby therefore has to be attributed to a failure in the security system’s prevention of crimes in the same way that the security camera footage is being hailed as a success of the security system in reporting crimes.”

“I think the success of any security program should be measured in crimes prevented and not crimes successfully reported in a timely manner,” Andrew Corbett, a junior resident of the University Commons, said.

In an announcement made at the meeting, campus security said there are no major plans for for weapon-checks or stricter security enforcement in general.

Georgia State security Deputy Chief Carlton Mullis of Georgia State University Police notes that it is something that will always be evolving from each situation that arises.

“We’re looking at what worked, what didn’t and what we can improve,” Mullis said.

Senior and Criminal Justice major Clarke Steele agreed that security at Georgia State can use room for improvement.

“Maybe the cops could walk around more. I see them driving around but I don’t see them walking around,” Clarke said. “I see them around here at night more, but you don’t see them as much as you want to.”

With no plans to to enforce new, stricter regulations in a security system that saw an armed robbery committed in student housing, Sergeant Sharon Ware of Georgia State Police urged students and security officials to practice and enforce the actions that could have prevented the crime from happening.

“We definitely must reiterate how important it is for students to keep their student ID’s with them at all times,” Ware said.

According to University officials, Quinton Arnold, one of the alleged robbers in the case, was a resident of Piedmont North and, therefore, had access to all student dorms at Georgia State. Former student Stroud and non-Georgia State affiliate Patrick gained access by getting the security cards of other students who are residents of campus housing.

No news yet on whether the security cards were given to the suspects or if they were stolen.

Julian Virgin, a sophomore journalism major who attended the meeting shared her frustration: How do you protect residents from other residents?

“I mean, the main guy lived in Piedmont,” she said. “I don’t know how you could stop any residents from causing harm to others unless you had a security scanner in every lobby like they do at the airport.”

Signal staff writers Maranda Whittington, Cameron Washington, Jesus Diaz and Zoya Hasnain contributed to this report.