USC students begin their spring semester next week but will be returning to a much different campus, according to school officials, who say that security at the South L.A. private university has been ramped up since last year's shootings on and near campus. Namely, the open campus will now be closed after 9 p.m. -- only allowing students with valid ID to enter the school.
Before 9 p.m. and after 6 a.m. visitors will still be welcome on campus and never fear, students can still receive those late night pizzas as long as the delivery drivers show some ID. These crackdowns on campus were spurred by a series of violent incidents that occurred last year; most notably, the murder of two USC graduate students in a nearby neighborhood, and the shooting of four people at a USC party on Halloween.
"The incident on Oct. 31 showed that we need to be more careful about the possibility that individuals who come on campus may jeopardize the safety of others," says a statement from USC.
Starting on January 14, in addition to restricting campus access at night, USC officials plan to install more security cameras on the campus perimeter, increase the number of Public Safety officers on the school's grounds and have security on site 24 hours a day to check IDs at campus dorms.
Capt. David Carlisle of USC's Department of Public Safety, wrote in an email that they have already installed temporary fencing around unprotected portions of the campus to help monitor who enters and exits campus. Carlisle said they needed to "close the gaps around campus that were not already secured by the existing brick and wrought iron fencing."
"Obviously it's not ideal, but there have been a few situations going on this past semester that have been kind of dangerous and pretty scary," student Alex Diehl told ABC. "So I think that until we can figure out a better solution I understand why they're doing that."
President of USC, C. L. Max Nikias, wrote an open letter to the community last November, addressing the recent shootings and reassuring students and their families that the schools was doing everything they could to ensure safety.
"These new policies and safety measures are important for the entire campus community, including our neighbors who spend a great deal of time on our campus," Nikias wrote. "Each of these actions builds on the extensive safety improvement efforts that we have undertaken over the past several years and that have resulted in a significant decrease in crime incidents in the surrounding neighborhood."