USC upgrades security in the wake of near-campus murder

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In the wake of the violent murder of a student two weeks ago, officials from the University of Southern California Friday announced security changes to on- campus and its surrounding area

"We're doing everything as possible to keep USC's campus safe," said Deputy Chief David Carlisle, of USC's Department of Public Safety. "While we had one of the most forward reaching safety and security systems in the country, we decided there's more we can do."

Carslile said the changes come in response to the recent murder.

Ji, 24, a graduate student from China, was walking home at about 12:45 a.m. on July 24, blocks off campus, when police said a group of teenagers tried to rob him and attacked him with a baseball bat. Ji was hit in the head but managed to find his way to his apartment. His roommate found him dead in the morning. Four people - two adults and two minors - have been charged with murder

Ji's death put the school's large population of students from China on edge a mere two years after two other graduate students from China, Ying Wu and Ming Qu, were murdered while sitting in a car near campus. USC officials said they've been meeting with students and parents over the past couple of weeks and developed new measures based on those meetings.

"It only takes one high profile incident to overshadow the fact that we've had declining crime in the USC community - which is also true for the City of Los Angeles - so sometimes it gives a misleading perception of what the situation is," Carlisle said. 

Among the changes, USC announced it will:

  • Keep its "neighborhood security ambassadors" program, which stations yellow-clad security officers on street corners near campus, running during the summer;
  • Increase nighttime USC Department of Public Safety and LAPD patrols;
  • Increase the number of people monitoring USC's security cameras;
  • Expand the service area of the campus shuttle service and reduce wait times;
  • Enhance safety training for incoming students, including offering safety training while students are still in China, and videos with Mandarin subtitles.

USC also made changes two years ago after Qu and Wu died, many in partnership with the LAPD. They installed dozens of security cameras and heavily increased LAPD patrols in the campus's surrounding neighborhoods.

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