With increased growth, police at Valdosta State University are now implementing a major program to help protect students and local drivers.
Rush hour on Valdosta's Patterson Street can get very dangerous, especially in front of the Valdosta State University campus. That's why campus police are stepping up their presence, everything from police cars to officers on bikes.
Caragh Lynch, a VSU junior, says, "It's really a big help, because the traffic keeps getting worse each year here at VSU and I remember when I had to cross the street a lot, you're basically running for your life."
That's why these officers are making sure students only cross at designated crosswalks, even handing out warnings to students who don't.
Police are hopeful that their added presence along the Patterson Street corridor will accomplish two goals. One: address immediate safety concerns, and the second, to improve safety habits in the future both by drivers and by pedestrians.
SGT Russell Severns of VSU Police says, "As time goes on, we hope to eliminate the need to have this patrol because the pedestrians will automatically comply with the law, drivers will automatically comply with the law based on the education they've received from us."
If the walkers and drivers don't learn quickly, they could end up getting a traffic citation or even injured in an accident, and VSU police will not undertake this huge safety improvement project on their own because this department is teaming up with Valdosta city police in an effort both departments say should help save lives.
VSU police say they are looking at additional ways to improve safety over the next year.