The increased number of TU Alerts this academic year may often be associated with an increase in crime itself. However, the extension of the police patrol border in September has contributed to a greater awareness of criminal activity in the North Philadelphia area.
There have been between 10 and 15 TU Alerts pertaining to both attempted and successful robberies in the Temple area in the past five months. While there has been an increase in TU Alerts themselves, Charlie Leone, executive director of campus safety, said the new patrol zone contributes to the increase in crime reports.
“This year, if we didn’t do the extension, you wouldn’t have seen any of those robberies out here [in the extended border],” Leone said. But we’ve now extended our patrols, so you’re going to see the crime on the crime log. Quite naturally, you’re going to see more.”
Leone said that reported robberies on Main Campus have decreased 12 percent since last academic year. He added that in the new patrol zone, there was a 3 percent increase of reported robberies.
Temple extended its police patrol border at the beginning of the fall semester. Most notably, the western boundary was extended from 16th Street to 18th Street. Other changes included extending the eastern boundary to Ninth Street, the northern boundary to Susquehanna Avenue and the southern boundary to Jefferson Street.
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act is the federal law that requires colleges and universities across the United States to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses. The law requires colleges and universities to have a public crime log, publish an Annual Security Report, and disclose crime statistics for incidents that occur on or around campus.
“We’ve made more of an effort to put out more information,” Leone said. “The good side is it gives people the information we want them to have, but on the other side, it makes people very fearful, thinking that crime is going out of control. … In reality, we’re just making you more aware of what’s happening.”
Leone said reported sexual assaults decreased 60 percent in the new patrol zone, but increased 30 percent on Main Campus.
Temple launched the “It’s On Us” initiative in November in an effort to address and prevent sexual violence.
“It’s hard to quantify whether there have been actual increases or because we’ve done a big push in the last year, educating the students to report these things to us when they get them, and if people feel more comfortable now reporting information,” Leone said.
The reasoning for the 60 percent decrease off Main Campus was less clear.
“We don’t know if the education piece, whether it’s because of intervention and targeted enforcement, and we’re trying to figure out why,” Leone said. “We have to work through data and figure out why it went down so much.”
Underage drinking has remained a prominent element on Temple’s crime logs, illustrating that the activity has been a consistent issue on and around Main Campus in the past.
Leone said the increased area of the the patrol border has caused a rise in underage drinking being documented in this academic year’s logs.
“There’s quite a lot of parties and underage drinking that goes on along 17th and 18th [streets] and parts of 16th [Street], so you’re going to see more [reported],” Leone said. “That doesn’t mean that it’s more than last year, it just means you’re going to see it more because we’re capturing it with our information on our crime logs.”
Bike thefts decreased 43 percent in 2014, Leone said. Campus Safety initiated an electronic bike registration program in the Fall 2013 where students and employees can register their bikes online.
“Education, prevention programming and enforcement all played an integral role in the reduction,” Leone said in an email. “For many students, a bike is their only means of transportation. It is important that we ensure their bikes are safe from theft.”
Campus Safety collaborated with the Philadelphia Police Smart Policing group at the 22nd District. Temple Police officers and Philadelphia Police Department officers also paired up in several undercover operations, Leone said.
“From this year to last year [without the extension], we’re about the same with the number of alerts,” Leone said. “If you were to look at the total number this year, you’re going to see that we set out six more alerts and they were on the extension, where we may or may not have sent it out last year.”
Lian Parsons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on twitter @Lian_Parsons