Atlanta

Georgia State unveils plan to improve campus security: More cameras, more lights, more call boxes

ATLANTA — Georgia State University is working on a $3 million plan to improve safety after several recent shootings near campus.

The plan includes more cameras, lighting, call boxes, and fencing, and even utilizes artificial intelligence.

GSU Police Chief Anthony Coleman said dozens of emergency call boxes will be installed, along with surveillance cameras and LED lights.

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“I told the guys I want it to look like a football field at night, so that’s our goal, that’s what we’re trying to do – brighten up the lights,” Coleman said.

The improvements include “smart lights,” which feature artificial intelligence technology.

It can identify if something is out of place or if small groups become big, rowdy crowds.

“That system will be able to tell us if there are crowds gathering,” Coleman said. “It’ll give us intelligence if there’s loud noises, and they’ll alert our dispatch immediately so we’ll be able to dispatch officers to that area immediately.”

The safety upgrades began months ago after a December shooting at a RaceTrac gas station just off campus killed a student.

On Oct. 29, another shooting at the same gas station injured four people, including two students.

One woman, who was not a student, died from her injuries a week later.

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In addition to lights, cameras, and call boxes, the university plans to create a 1.5-mile-long walking path on the perimeter of campus.

It will follow the university boundaries and help students know when they’re on and off campus.

“We want to create safe, visible, and memorable travel paths for our community,” the university said in a statement.

GSU also plans to close Gilmer Street, next to Hurt Park, to vehicle traffic.

In August, the Georgia Board of Regents approved the purchase of an 18-story office tower across from the park.

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“What I tell students is to just stay with their friends, stay smart when you’re out and about with your friends,” Coleman said. “If you see something going on, let the police know.”

Students who spoke with Channel 2 Action News said they feel mostly safe on campus but think there’s room for improvement.

“It depends on the time,” freshman Shiv Patel said. “Like in the daytime, I feel completely safe, but at nighttime, that’s a different story.”

Brea Porter, also a freshman, said the campus needs better lighting.

“Because it gets pretty dark,” she said. “And now that it is getting dark earlier, it gets very, very dark. Police can only do so much. I really feel like it should be lit up.”

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