- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 28, 2003

University of Maryland and Prince George's County officials announced yesterday that campus police would expand neighborhood patrols outside the College Park campus, a move prompted in part by the fatal stabbing of a student off campus.
The stepped-up police presence is part of several recommendations by a task force formed in the wake of the Nov. 10 murder of Brandon Malstrom just blocks from campus. Along with the new patrols, bus service will be increased and lighting improved to deter crime, says a report released yesterday.
The changes mean the university force will push beyond the traditional limits of its jurisdiction the campus borders into the neighborhoods that are popular with students.
"The university has come to believe that we should provide an enhanced level of service to folks living in that area," said Kenneth Krouse, chief of the campus police and a task force member.
About three-quarters of the 34,000 students at Maryland live off campus, many of them in College Park neighborhoods filled with apartment buildings and rental houses that border the university.
The presence of so many students inevitably has led to tensions with College Park residents, who complain about loud parties, parking shortages and other problems.
The city's downtown has also been the scene of several incidents after Maryland basketball games. After last year's two Final Four games, thousands of students and others flooded Route 1. Police in riot gear shot pepper spray pellets to disperse the crowd.
Students have complained that the university police don't do enough to protect them when they step off campus, saying non-students often show up at parties uninvited and cause trouble. Three men from Columbia, Md., who are not students, have been charged in Mr. Malstrom's slaying.
The seven-member Route 1 Corridor Task Force was formed shortly afterward to study off-campus crime and the relationship between the university and county police forces. Members included city, county and university officials along with the university student body president.
Prince George's County police have primary jurisdiction off campus, but sometimes refer 911 calls to the university police if those officers can respond first.
Under the new plan, that agreement will be modified to give the university police greater authority. Six new officers will be hired to patrol off campus five nights a week, and two university officers will team with Prince George's police to monitor the Route 1 corridor on Friday and Saturday nights.
The changes will require a significant funding increase for the university force $283,000 in upfront costs this year and $375,000 in following years. University President C.D. Mote Jr. has allocated funds for the increased patrols despite deep budget cuts the university faces, school spokesman George Cathcart said.
"It will be funded this year," Mr. Cathcart said. "President Mote decided this was a very high priority that we need to take seriously."
The university will add two vans to its off-campus shuttle routes under the proposal, eliminating the need for some students to walk. It also will expand the service to 1,250 students living in the South Commons complex.
Recommendations for College Park include improved lighting on public walkways and new alcohol and noise ordinances to keep off-campus parties under control.
Prince George's will post an officer with the university force and change shifts to increase staffing during weekend nights. The changes are expected to cost the county $109,000.
"The cost is not the major issue here; safety is the primary concern," said Walter Dozier, spokesman for Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson.

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