Last November, a man with a gun attempted a carjacking against a University of Louisville medical resident. The Louisville Courier-Journal says the incident was a tipping point for the unversity, where several years of reductions in the safety budget have coincided with a rise in crime, particularly around its health center. The university says it will spend $500,000 to hire more police and security officers. The new money reverses several years of reductions in the university’s security budget, totaling $225,900 since 2001. Adding to the urgency surrounding campus safety are the concerns of students upset by the appearance of Ku Klux Klan members on school grounds.
The victim of the attempted carjacking said the new attention on security is overdue: “The university is leaving itself open for something horrible to happen.” There were 20 assaults in or near the health center in 2002, compared with five in 2000. Nancy Barr, business administrator for dentistry school, said, “They’re not trying to say, `Oh, no. It doesn’t happen here,'” she said. “Well, yes it does. It does happen here, and if you’re aware of it and you’re more cautious that makes you feel a little better.”