On Aug. 13, police officers opened fire on a man on North Broad Street between Susquehanna Avenue and Dauphin Street after robbing a Temple student. For those of you who don’t know, the geographic boundary of where Temple cops have jurisdiction is from 16th Street east to Ninth Street and from Oxford Street north to Susquehanna Avenue. So, when I say right on the border, I mean on the very edge of Main Campus.
It’s strange. I know I should feel affected in some way by the fact that another student got robbed so close to Temple. But I don’t believe it could happen to me when day after day I try to be careful going out.
When I first arrived at Temple, my father told me what to look out for. Be aware of the signs, know where you are and don’t block yourself off by listening to music. Face everyone, look at everyone, so if someone does rob you, you will be able to describe them. Whatever makes it harder for the criminal, the better. After all, a thief is looking for an easy hit.
But what can Temple do to help us out? If you’ve lived in Philly and go to school at Temple, then you’re going to become familiar with the reputation that the streets next to Temple have acquired. Every day I have my mother yell at me to stay away from those streets, so I’m well informed about how bad it is supposed to be.
Yet, it doesn’t really bother me. I still go out. Thousands of other students live near Temple, so there must be other people who feel the same as I do walking through the neighborhood.
Can Temple do anything about it? My father, a long time detective who recently retired from the campus police, believes Temple is doing everything it can to fight a reputation it no longer deserves.
The first thing that people have to know is that the reputation Temple has acquired is mostly from the past. Temple was known for many years as a commuter school. Students live right near Temple, and while there still may be some thugs, there’s fewer than before.
Also, Temple has opened up its communication with the neighboring community and its leaders, so both sides remain informed. Temple also maintains open communication with the realtors near campus.
There have also been technological advances. Cameras are placed around campus in order to capture the faces of anyone committing any crimes. This has also helped when someone commits a crime off campus, because even though they are doing something illegal off camera, when they pass through campus, they are seen going in or out, before or after the crime. This is actually how they caught the man who was robbing students earlier this month. Temple has also placed powerful lights around the buildings, keeping the campus brightly lit at all times and has immediate contact with the other police stations around Philadelphia.
Everything Temple can do within its budget to keep the students safe is already underway. They are always looking for more to do, keeping proactive. When a crime happens so close to campus, it still leaves a feeling that Temple is not in a good area. But crime can occur anywhere.
The real question is what more can be done.
Crime is going to happen. What we have to do is make sure we’re prepared to take care of ourselves when that happens. But it’s also important to know what’s going on around us as well, what steps our schools and society is taking to protect us.
Whatever we do, we have to make the best of it. We can’t rely solely on other people protecting us, but that doesn’t also mean we don’t voice ourselves on what we think isn’t working. Safety has to be a team effort.
Temple is doing its part, so it’s up to us to do ours.
Matt Hulmes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.