Temple University is creating a security upgrade grant program, increasing patrols near campus, establishing a neighborhood watch program and providing housing for students who want to relocate on campus to expand its campus safety initiatives, wrote Ken Kaiser, senior vice president and chief administrative officer, in an announcement to the university community Wednesday evening.
The announcement came a day after President Jason Wingard and other university officials met with Mayor Jim Kenney and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw to discuss ways to combat the city’s gun violence crisis.
Temple introduced plans to increase campus safety in January in response to an increase in violence near Main campus, including the fatal shooting of Samuel Collington, a 21-year old senior political science major, on Nov. 28, 2021.
City-wide, gun violence has reached unprecedented levels during the past seven years, with the city setting a new homicide record in 2021 and already recording 112 homicides so far this year, according to the City Controller’s gun violence dashboard.
Charles Ramsey, former Philadelphia Police Commissioner, was hired on Jan. 27 to work with the university to reduce crime and violence, and will begin his campus safety audit in early April.
The security upgrade grant program will allow local landlords to apply for grants through Temple of up to $2,500 to install lighting and/or cameras to improve security. Landlords must provide proof they own an eligible residence and a plan for how they’ll use the funding. They’ll be reimbursed after providing evidence they’ve made the outlined security installations.
To increase campus patrols, Temple is hiring new police officers and increasing supplemental patrols from the Philadelphia Police Department.
Temple and neighborhood groups are discussing establishing a watch program for the areas near Main Campus. The program would provide “public safety ambassadors” who have training in crime prevention to patrol areas on campus and the surrounding neighborhoods.
Jennifer Hedberg, the mother of a Temple student, led university parents in hiring a private security firm to patrol the areas near Main Campus where their children live in response to the increase in violence near campus, Inside Higher Ed reported.
The university is also helping students relocate to university-owned housing or private complexes near campus until the end of the semester.
“We remain deeply committed to working with the community, our partners and stakeholders to find a solution,” Kaiser wrote.
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