UH student faces backlash after calling for end to campus crime

Friday, September 23, 2016
UH students work to unite campus against crime
University of Houston students are facing backlash as they work to unite the campus after a recent crime spree.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A Black Lives Matter activist calling for increased security after becoming a robbery victim is facing criticism online, but says his message is being distorted.

Jerry Ford Jr. was robbed at gunpoint this month outside his apartment, the Vue on MacGregor. The complex is just feet away from the University of Houston campus where Ford is a graduate student.

Critics took issue with Ford calling for security measures as a Black Lives Matter activist.

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"My response was, 'Hey, we might need to look into providing more security because this has become a pattern.' And people claimed I was calling for armies of police officers to patrol black communities across the country," Ford said.

The Black Lives Matter movement's positions on policing are misunderstood, he said.

"You can't equate being anti-police brutality to being anti-police," he said.

Ford said increased policing may not be the solution anyway, saying the university and surrounding communities can look for smart solutions rather than simply sending in more officers.

Other students agree community involvement is key.

"I thinking having the school and maybe some of the fraternities here reach out into the communities [help]," said student Aaron Maxwell.

"I feel safe and comfortable in my building, but outside -- especially at night -- I don't want to have my phone on me. Don't want my wallet on me," Maxwell said.

Nearby residents, apartment staff and law enforcement met Thursday night to discuss the safety issues. Ford said he's hopeful they can work together to help solve the problems.

"I've never been against all police officers. And I really think the focus should be on providing security," Ford said.