Mercer University addresses students' concern after violence near campus

Shannon Lilly (WGXA)

MACON, Ga. -- After a series of shootings on January 10 on the Mercer campus and the discovery of a man shot and killed nearby just weeks afterward, some students in nearby Mercer Village say they don't feel as safe as they have in the past.

Sophomore Adi Trivedi, who transferred from a school in New York last semester, said that following the early January shootings, he doesn't always feel safe on campus.

Trivedi said that after the shootings on January 10, it took at least 30 minutes for the school to send students messages about the incident.

Now, he wants to see more patrols out, more lights and more cameras. At his last school, Trivedi said that they had a gated area and wonders if Mercer could do the same.

"I play on a club tennis team and sometimes when I'm walking back, I don't feel too safe around campus even. And I feel like you're in a college, you should feel safe wherever you are," he said.

Mercer Junior, Jackson Dillard, said he wants the school to be more transparent about crimes happening on and around campus.

"I think that's the biggest concern. It's not that Mercer doesn't know what's going on, it's that Mercer isn't reacting fast enough," said Dillard.

According to Mercer President Bill Underwood, since the January 10 shootings the school has increased its security presence around campus.

Underwood said that there is additional security in the areas of each of the three bridges around campus, there are now signs near security cameras to alert people of their presence and that security will be visible every evening for the foreseeable future.

He also said that the school is working with Bibb County law enforcement to increase patrols in the area and said that the sheriff's office responded to the early January shootings within a matter of moments.

Nu Way's worker, Jennifer Williams, said their restaurant brings in people from all over the city. But she said fewer people are coming into the restaurant at night.

"The students are not out more. Usually they're out doing night jogs like that. They're not doing none of that," said Williams.

On Thursday, Director of Media Relations at Mercer University Kyle Sears sent WGXA the following statement:

"Mercer has a safe campus, and we work hard every day to keep it safe for our students, faculty, staff and visitors. Over the last three weeks the University has further augmented its security by adding personnel, increasing patrols and implementing other measures such as working more closely with the Macon-Bibb County Sheriff’s Office to deliver on its commitment to maintain a safe campus. No major university campus in this country is crime-free, but if you look at local crime statistics, you will see that Mercer’s campus is one of the safest areas in the county."

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