Transparency about crime a must, Pearson says

Mar 11, 2020

Claflin Police Chief Steve Pearson speaks with Panther reporters.



Transparency in reporting news of crime on campus is vital, Claflin University Police Chief Steve Pearson says.

Pearson met with Panther reporters in February to discuss security issues, campus safety and more.

“Transparency is very important because you want people to be aware of what’s going on. We can’t get help if we’re keeping things private from the students, faculty and staff. We are all police on this campus in a way,” Pearson said.

Pearson cited the 1990 Jeanne Clery Act, a federal law that requires colleges and universities to disclose information and statistics related to crime on and around their campuses.

“Because of the Jeanne Clery Act, we have to make it known in case there is an incident on campus,” Pearson said. “It makes law enforcement and universities responsible for letting students know if there was a criminal incident so you can decide if you want to go to that school or university and that is for safety reasons.”

Pearson said student involvement in keeping the campus safe is essential. “You guys are the eyes and ears.”

He cited a recent case regarding a fireman on campus.

“If you see someone on campus with a weapon, you should report it. It is never okay for anyone to have a firearm on campus. There was a student who is not in school anymore that had a firearm in his room. Someone reported it and we went to his room and confiscated it.

“When something like this is reported, we take it seriously and follow up on it,” Pearson said. “Same rules apply for weapons in the car and housing like Campus Corner and things of that nature.”

Pearson is happy that Claflin has been quiet recently in terms of crimes and reports.

“There has been a large reduction in the number of incident reports we’ve had and complaints,” he said. “It’s been surprisingly quiet.”

Pearson believes that providing a lot of officer contact with students and advising students of policies on the campus are ways to lower incidents.

The Claflin police force is made up of 15 people, three added in the present academic year.


Booting, tickets, decals necessary, police chief says


Claflin Police Chief Steve Pearson found himself addressing an old issue when he met with Panther reporters in February: complaints about the university parking policy.

Asked about towing and parking on campus, Pearson said, “The transparency comes through the parking manual.”

Pearson acknowledged students have been experiencing booting. “Individuals that are repeat offenders, those are the ones we end up usually booting,” he said.

“A lot of people that come on the campus, they’ll say, ‘I’m going to drop someone off,’ and then they go park their car in someone’s reserved space and they’ll leave. And they’ll continuously do that, they’ll continually compile parking tickets. It’s not fair for someone to pay for a parking decal and then someone not pay,” Pearson said.

Security is trying not to do so much towing, Pearson said. “The cost of towing is way up there. ... The boot is $55.”

Decals and tickets are necessary to keep order, Pearson said. It is understood that the campus would have open parking to everyone if there were no decals. It would always be unknown whose cars are parked on our campus, which is why decals are a necessity.

Pearson said fraud with regard to parking decals has been an issue.

“We changed the shape of the decals because some people were taking their decals, getting a high-resolution printer and then printing off the decal and putting it on their windows.”

More tickets are being written, he said.

“We added more people so we can expand out down Goff Avenue,” Pearson said. Most tickets are written on people without decals.

Section Navigation
Support the next generation of Claflin Leaders
Your support provides educational enrichment through student scholarships, loan funds, instructional classroom equipment, preparing Claflin's students to be leaders of the future.