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After a string of highly-publicized crimes at The Marquee, formerly Sterling Central apartments, management is revamping security in an effort to cultivate a new image alongside its new name.

In 2014, the Orange County Sheriff's Office crime analysis unit received the most calls from The Marquee out of any non-affiliated housing complex in the UCF area, OCSO documents show. Out of the 202 incidents requiring a report in 2014 at non-affiliated housing complexes in the UCF area, The Marquee had 55 of those incidents occur on its property, accounting for nearly one-fourth of the incidents reported.

In 2013, that number was higher, however. There were 84 incidents that required incident reports in that year — a difference of 34.5 percent.

As part of the revamp of its security, Marquee management changed the key fob system for the entire complex, and a new security system, Signal 88, was brought in to patrol the community, escort residents and respond to resident issues.

David Shaffer, senior general manager at The Marquee, said this revamp is in response to resident and parent comments about the conditions in the community.

"We are always listening to our residents and responding to their needs as part of an ongoing effort to provide a quality living experience," Shaffer said in a prepared statement. "This revamp is simply a part of that. We want all of our residents to enjoy their experience at The Marquee, and our focus is to provide that for them."

Management is also working on adding exterior security cameras as well as exterior access gates in open hallways.

The process began at the tail end of 2014, Shaffer said, and after plans were finalized, work began in late February to increase the "comfort and well-being" of Marquee residents.

"Residents have been responding positive to all of our changes and are excited for each as the change takes place," he stated.

One resident, Tiara Harris, a junior health sciences major, noted that while the security presence does make her feel safer, there's still some improvement to be done at the complex.

"Sometimes I feel safe, sometimes I don't," Harris said. "The security standing outside [makes me feel safe], but once I'm inside, I don't feel safe."

The management is also working on getting certified through the Orange County Multi Housing Crime Prevention program, a program that OSCO is trying to get all the complexes in the area involved in. As part of this program, Capt. Stephen Garrison said OSCO will provide management mechanisms to deal with people who are involved in crime and evict those tenants.

A large number of local complexes are already getting involved in this program, according to OSCO.

Along with that program, UCF Chief of Police Richard Beary said the UCF Police Department and OSCO routinely conduct meetings with complex managers to talk about crime-prevention strategies, crime trends and other issues of importance to students.

In terms of what contributes to complex safety, Beary said one major factor can be the presence of a security gate.

"I know it makes a difference. When you're coming through there and we get your tag number and we see who you are and we lay eyes on you and if something happens, we know what cars came through that gate," Beary said."Is it expensive? Yes it is. But if security is important to you and safety is important to you, you've got to spend a few bucks here and there. To me, that has been a great investment."

Apart from that, Beary's main recommendation for those looking to stay safe in student housing is simple:

"My biggest recommendation I make to parents is if you want to feel good that your child is safe, put them in our housing. If the UCFPD has input in the decision making, your young people are going to be safe with us. I can't say that about going down the road."

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Adam Rhodes is the Entertainment Editor at the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @byadamrhodes or email him at AdamR@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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