Alerts too little, too late

Temple’s crime alert system has been used inconsistently.

In three separate instances  that occurred last Friday, three female students reported being attacked by a group of 10 or more youths in an area near Main Campus where many students live. These incidents occurred in a half-hour span and within a five-block radius of one another.

Had one of the women not sustained severe injuries and been sent to the hospital – where her story made its way to local news outlets – it’s possible that the majority of the Temple student body would have remained in the dark about the seemingly related attacks.

Despite two of the three immediately informing Philadelphia Police of the incident and a third reporting her attack to Temple Police on Sunday, the university did not issue a TU Alert. The university sent an email addressing questions regarding the weekend’s incident Monday night.

Just last month, a student was injured when 29 shots were fired outside of The Let Out, a nightclub on 17th Street and Cecil B. Moore Ave., on  a busy Saturday evening. It took campus police roughly 45 minutes to alert anyone of the situation.

Officials involved in the process of sending out alerts have said messages are sent out as the university is able to confirm and clarify information. While such accuracy is important to the alert process, it is just as important for notices of threats to be sent out as soon as possible.

Another problem that affected the university’s reporting of such incidents is they often occur just beyond the technical boundaries of our campus police force.

While Campus Safety Services has a legal duty to patrol and report on the blocks immediately surrounding Main Campus, they have expanded that range in the past in an effort to crack down on underage drinking and other unsafe practices stemming from the growth of the off-campus student community.

Temple should be doing everything in its power to build a stronger alert network that includes both local and campus police so that threats in the expanding university area can be notified to the student body as soon as possible.

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