NEW ORLEANS -- Students at Tulane have seen a rise in violent crimes off campus in the Uptown area surrounding the university. Parents and prospective new students are concerned too.
But now new leadership is getting everyone from city leaders to the students involved to fight the problem.
The new superintendent of police at Tulane University has a challenge on his hands.
"When you start looking at your crimes against persons, you know, it's concerning to see that it's on an uptick. And what we've got to do is we've got to jump in roll up our sleeves and partner with everybody that we can," said Superintendent Jon Barnwell of the Tulane University Police Department.
In the community surrounding the campus, there have been crimes such as armed robbery, aggravated assault, rape, attempted car jacking, purse snatching and burglarizing of cars and apartments.
But he said he's up to the challenge.
Barnwell came to New Orleans from policing at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. And before his new job at Tulane even started, he met with the mayor, the NOPD police chief, Loyola University, which is next door, and the student body government.
Already there is action. The city promised to fix broken lighting in the community around the campus.
"Some of the lighting has already been replaced, but unfortunately, a hard timeline is difficult to pinpoint (for it all to be done)," said Barnwell.
There are more foot and bicycle patrols wearing obvious neon yellow vests with the word 'POLICE' on them. These patrols will be on designated pedestrian corridors.
Off campus, there will be up to six more NOPD detail patrols in the community joining the other NOPD and Tulane Police patrols, doubling the number of patrols and expanding the patrol zone.
Possibly starting this weekend, shuttle buses will have GPS tracking so students know their locations. Blue light emergency call boxes will be reinvented and may get cameras and audio alert systems.
And students could vote to buy and distribute, what they call, rape whistles.
"It goes right on your key chain, and if students are walking around in a dimly lit area and feel unsafe, and they think that somebody might be following them, I've actually have a friend who is a referee and had the whistle on him and somebody was approaching him and as soon as he blew the whistle, scared the guy off," said senior Evan Nicoll of Kenner, who is the Tulane president of Undergraduate Student Government. He is majoring in business administration with a concentration in entrepreneurship.
One of the things the students are looking into is getting an app for their smart phones called Rave Guardian. Here's how it would work: The student could enter in a phone that he or she is leaving for the library and will be there in 10 minutes.
If he or she is not there in 10 minutes, it will alert the police and they can call to make sure the student is safe. Or if someone's approaching a student and he feels like he's in danger, he can alert the police through Rave Guardian and it will actually track every move he makes trying to leave the area so the police can find him.
But the new police superintendent says students and faculty need to be part of the solution as well.
"I think it's kind of giving a reality check to students, you know, hey, it's not smart to walk around at 2 o'clock in the morning by myself in a dimly lit area," said Nicoll.
The new superintendent is meeting with the NOPD 2nd District and deputy mayor this week to talk about sharing a police substation on Broadway Street.