In an effort to improve safety in and around campus, Tulane University has hired four off-duty NOPD officers this semester to work with campus police, Tulane Police Superintendent Jon Barnwell said. Barnwell also said Tulane is working with the city's Department of Public Works to fix about 70 street lights in the area.
The announcements came during a town hall meeting for Loyola and Tulane students Tuesday night, amid growing concerns about crime in the university area. At Tulane, at least 1,200 students have signed a petition urging President Scott Cowen to take more action to protect students in the area surrounding the university.
At least 14 students were robbed -- some at gunpoint -- around Tulane's campus last semester, an increase of almost 75 percent from each of the past four semesters. In addition to the spike in armed robberies, two women recently were raped just blocks from campus.
For years, students have complained about extreme darkness on the streets around the universities. In the rape case, two women were attacked in January on a street two blocks from campus where, according to the incident's police report, lighting was "poor."