Since the reported sexual assault of a 20-year-old Temple student Sept. 28, Temple Police and AlliedBarton have seen a 30 percent increase in usage of the Walking Escort program.
AlliedBarton Bike Supervisor Patrice Pressley said 38 walking escorts were requested Thursday night and 20 Friday night between 7:30 p.m. and 3:30 a.m. Before the sexual assault off campus, Pressley said requests usually averaged around six or seven a night.
“Numbers are extremely high,” she said. “It’s a good thing.”
AlliedBarton, a contract security company, provides the university services like walking escorts, building security and loss prevention. The company’s officers also work in tandem with Temple Police to patrol areas, or zones, on and off campus to deter crime through visibility.
“We’re basically like Temple Police’s eyes and ears,” Pressley said.
The prevention of crime through visibility tactics has produced results, Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said. He added in the past several years, there has been a decline in criminal activity where more bike officers were deployed.
According to Temple’s 2015 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, theft has decreased on Main Campus by 64 reported cases from 2012 to 2014. Off campus, but still on private property, theft has decreased by 80 reported cases in the same time period.
“The uniform is a deterrent,” Leone said.
Some of the decline in theft may also be attributed to the formal introduction of the Walking Escort program in 2013.
“It really cut down on a lot of crime,” Pressley said, who was working for AlliedBarton as a supervisor when the escort service was implemented. She specifically pointed out a decrease in cell phone theft.
When a student or faculty member calls the Walking Escort call line, they are received by the Call Center, said Gene Cummings, AlliedBarton’s district manager. The request is then assigned via radio to an officer in the area, who will arrive at the requested destination and record information from the escort like their name, TUID, where they are coming from and where they are going.
“What this does is sets a little bit of accountability and integrity in the system,” Cummings said. “And it allows us to track the escort time.”
The Walking Escorts have their own perimeter of patrol, a block inward of Temple Police’s. They patrol, and escort students, east to 9th Street, west to 18th Street, north to Diamond Street and now south to Jefferson Street. The Jefferson Street boundary was recently added since the sexual assault was reported Sept. 28. Now, AlliedBarton has two officers patrolling Jefferson Street from Broad Street to 17th Street.
While the perimeter of AlliedBarton’s patrol area extends only to those locations, the bike supervisor on duty has the authority to permit bike officers to escort student a block or two past the boundary. The same goes for escorts outside of the Walking Escort program hours of 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Donald Green, another AlliedBarton bike supervisor, recommends students use the escort service as much as possible. He especially encourages use over the weekend.
“Nobody is here to judge you if you were out partying,” Green said, “We think if you walk with us you will be safer.”
Although the AlliedBarton officers are unarmed, the Walking Escorts are monitored by Temple Police during the duration of the escort. If anything suspicious were to happen, the bike officer could call it over the radio and a Temple Police officer would already know where the student and walking escort are. Green also feels confident the uniform alone will deter most crime.
“At the end of the day we want students to know that we’re here for them,” Green said.
Jenny Kerrigan can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @jennykerriganTU.