U. of Florida Students Urged to Lock Doors

From Associated Press

The president of the University of Florida is urging students returning from summer break to take safety precautions, a year after five students were slain.

“Lock your doors, know your neighbors, walk with friends, stay in lighted areas and take advantage of the various campus services,” including nighttime vans, John Lombardi wrote in a letter to students.

Classes will be resumed on Aug. 26, a year after students Sonja Larson and Christina Powell were found dead in their off-campus apartment. The bodies of three other Gainesville students were discovered over the next two days.


No one has been charged in the murders. Police say their prime suspect remains Danny Rolling, 37, who is behind bars on unrelated bank robbery, car theft and burglary charges.

Lombardi said Thursday that getting students to take safety precautions is tough.

“Students are not normally very safety conscious. But the murders got students more focused,” he said.

Students will find increased security on campus, better outdoor lighting and more police patrols off campus, Lombardi said.

Also, students will be able to dial 911 from off-campus apartments before their regular phone service is hooked up. The phone company agreed to keep lines available for emergencies until it can schedule new hookups.

Lombardi said students will run into many reporters. He asked that students be “generous” with the news media, although they “sometimes ask inappropriate questions.”