LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -Police at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock are strengthening their efforts to increase their presence on campus. It's a presence many students say is desperately needed.
Thursday university authorities opened a substation in the heart of campus to better patrol the area. This new substation is located in a high traffic area where students can easily see university officers. It's a rare sight some say is long overdue.
"I'm gladdened because there have been a lot of incidents," said Kelsey Kelly, a nursing student at the university.
Kelly is happy for a reason you may not expect from some college students.
It's really comforting to know that they're moving in and watching us.
She says it gives her much needed peace of mind. But it's also a rarity around here.
University police hope to make that a thing of the past with a substation near the heart of campus. The closest one before this was a short distance away on Asher ave., the outskirts of campus.
"Right now if the officers are on patrol and they go back over on the Asher location then there's no police presence in the middle of campus," said Edward L. Smith, UALR Police Director.
Smith says they're shifting their focus to on campus crime prevention. The old mindset was to fight off crime on the fringes of campus. However, there's been a slight increase in burglaries and drug arrests on campus from 2010-2012.
Smith says stronger police presence on campus can help bring down those numbers.
"No one saw the police in the middle of campus and they didn't feel like the police were part of campus because they were, you know, kind of out of sight, out of mind," said Smith.
And these students say it'll also help calm their fears.
"I think it'll help a lot with everybody's peace of mind," said Kelly.
The university hopes to open two more substations, also on campus, if future budgets allow it.