Murfreesboro leaders have initiated a plan to increase police patrols and landlord accountability around MTSU. In the past six months, apartment buildings near the campus have seen a spike in gun-related incidents. City officials say one complex is responsible for more than 200 police calls in four months.
This week, Mayor Shane McFarland met with property managers who have the highest reported crime. Many offer low-cost units rented by the bedroom, to students and non-students alike.
The city wants landlords to immediately terminate a lease if a resident or guest at a complex is arrested on a drug or violence-related offense.
“We fully expect and we’ve seen the cooperation with these complexes, but if we don’t see that cooperation and we continue to have the issues we’ve had in the same complexes, there are other alternatives,” McFarland tells WPLN.
McFarland says he’s already begun talking to the local district attorney about next steps to make sure apartment managers get serious about security.
Murfreesboro is also contemplating police screenings. Those that meet certain criteria could receive a special emblem that MTSU would tell students to look for prior to signing a lease.
MTSU administrators say they will remind students that the school's code of conduct can apply off-campus, meaning local law enforcement has the option to refer cases to the university's judicial affairs office. The school also plans to share apartment crime data as part of student orientation.
The coordinated effort comes after a fatal shooting in early May that followed a spate of shootings at the same complex. Since then, Murfreesboro Police has saturated off-campus apartments with additional patrols on overtime shifts. As a result, they’ve issued some 200 charges this month, including for intoxication, assault and gunfire.
“Maintaining a safe, family-friendly community is perhaps the major asset of our growing community,” McFarland said in a statement. “I want to assure our residents, parents and students of MTSU that we are working diligently to address the problem, so Murfreesboro citizens and visitors feel safe and the community’s positive image is protected.”