HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A recent security report ranked William Carey University as the safest campus in Mississippi in its "Safest College Campus by State" report.
William Carey President Tommy King said he is thrilled to be recognized for safety and security on his campus.
"It sends a message to students and parents alike that you can come to William Carey and feel entirely safe compared to any other college in Mississippi," King said.
YourLocalSecurity.com used data and statistics from the FBI and U.S. Department of Education to determine the safest college campus in each state, based on low crime rates and programs designed to provide on-campus protection. These rankings take crimes reported by universities and place them into three main categories: violent crime, property crime and violence against women. Each crime is weighted by severity to give a total crime score, which is then divided by the school's enrollment to produce a per-capita score. All the universities listed were either private or non-profit four-year colleges with over 1,000 enrolled students.
Some students said they always feel safe on campus. Junior Ashton Winfrey said it made his decision easier to enroll at William Carey.
"That's the first thing they told me, we have security 24/7," Winfrey said. "I said okay, that sounds great to me."
Based on the Campus Crime Statistics Report for 2016, there were three crimes reported between WCU's Hattiesburg and Tradition campuses. One was for fondling, one for burglary and one for stalking.
The university provides 24/7 security and quick responses to emergencies. King said the 150-acre campus is gated and entrances to campus are all staffed by security guards. After 10 p.m., only students and approved visitors are allowed on campus. King said the time those visitors spend on campus is also monitored closely by security.
"They actually care who is coming on campus," WCU freshman Kaela Kendrick said. "They check everybody's IDs, if somebody is without an ID, they will follow them around. It's just very safe and I feel comfortable with that."
King said faculty, staff and students are also all trained on a safety and security handbook, which is updated every year.
"We feel like that developing this handbook and then following it carefully has helped to account for a minimum of crimes on campus," King said.
The private university spends about $450,000 a year on a security company for its Hattiesburg and Tradition campus.
King said he also believe the students in a faith-based community help keep the campus a safe environment.
"I think it's the planning and training and execution of the plan," King said. "But, I also think it's the fact William Carey being a faith-based institution and emphasizing our commitment to judo-christian principles, probably allows us to attract a unique group of students."
This is the second No .1 safest campus ranking for Carey. In 2016, BackgroundChecks.org ranked Carey as the safest college in Mississippi. In that report, the University of Southern Mississippi was ranked sixth.