Temple Police expanded its patrol zone nearly 25 square blocks, mostly extending its boundaries to the west and southeast of Main Campus, the university announced Wednesday. The new patrol zone is bound by 18th Street to the west, Susquehanna Avenue to the north, Ninth Street to the east and Jefferson Street to the south.
In an exclusive interview with The Temple News, Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said officers began patrolling the new zone last weekend.
Student Body President Ray Smeriglio said the new patrol zone should be much easier for students to understand than the previous zone.
“If you looked at the grid before, it was a little funky with what it encompassed and what it didn’t,” Smeriglio said. “Now we’ve got this easy box grid that fully encompasses our campus and the outliers to our campus as well.”
Residents living between 16th and 18th streets can expect to see both Temple and Philadelphia police patrolling the area, Leone said.
Crimes reported in the expanded zone will be added to CSS’ crime log but will not be counted in Clery Act statistics, Leone said. The federal law, passed in 1990, requires schools to submit an annual report of all the reported crimes that occurred during the previous three years.
Additionally under the Clery Act, higher education institutions must issue “timely warnings” about crimes that present a threat to students and employees on campus. Temple’s “timely warning” is known as a TU Alert. The new patrol area is not required by the Clery Act.
In March, a group of youths attacked four Temple students in three different assaults, all just beyond the Temple Police patrol zone. Since the victims notified Philadelphia police first and the incidents took place beyond the Temple Police patrol zone, Temple officials were not aware of the attacks and did not make a statement until three days later. No TU Alert was sent.
“I think that kind of hit home and said, you know, we really have to take another look at this,” Leone said.
Leone added that he believes the new patrol zone can be accomplished without upcoming hirings.
“We’re at our optimal number,” Leone said. “We were able to really, over the year, build our force up to where it needs to be.”
Smeriglio stressed that the extended patrol zone were intended to focus on quality of life issues.
“The extension is not to target a certain group of people,” Smeriglio said. “So the police are not going to be out there busting underage drinking and busting the parties. They’re not going to be out there hassling community members.”
Last weekend, three crimes were reported in the expanded zone west of Main Campus: an incident of public drunkenness, one of underage consumption and one case of criminal mischief.
“In the last few years, it’s been exponential growth,” Leone said. “With that, we saw the need to change.”
Marcus McCarthy and Joe Brandt can be reached at email@example.com.
Avery Maehrer and Patricia Madej contributed reporting.