Temple recently expands Walking Escort Program

Students can be escorted by police officers anywhere within TUPD’s patrol zone.

In an effort to curb gun violence TUPD has expanded its walking escort program. | EARL KUFEN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University expanded its Walking Escort Program this semester, in an effort to increase student access to one of the university’s campus safety resources amid a recent rise in gun violence near Main Campus. 

Previously, the boundaries for the service were between Ninth and 16th Streets, but now students can be escorted to their destination by a security or police officer anywhere within Temple University Police Department’s patrol zone. Students can request an escort by calling 8-9255 from a campus phone or 215-777-9255 from a cell phone between 4 p.m. and 6 a.m. 

TUPD patrols between Susquehanna Avenue and Jefferson Street, with the exception of 13th Street to Broad Street where the southern boundary is Girard Avenue, and between Ninth Street and 18th, according to its website.  

Ken Kaiser, senior vice president and chief operating officer, hopes that expanding the service’s boundaries will encourage more students to use the program — in addition to FLIGHT, the university’s fixed-route shuttle system — as a safety measure while traveling around and near Main Campus. 

There have been 416 homicides in Philadelphia so far in 2022, according to Philadelphia’s Office of the Controller’s gun violence dashboard. 

This September, 217 students have used the program, an increase from September 2021 when only 71 students used a Walking Escort, wrote Denise Wilhelm, interim executive director of campus safety, in an email to The Temple News.  

However, Kaiser acknowledges that some students may be more apprehensive or embarrassed to call an adult for help rather than taking FLIGHT.  

“I just think they don’t want to wait,” Kaiser said. “It’s embarrassing, I think for some students, so we want the message to be, please use it, that’s what it’s here for. We want them to use it.”  

Corinne Carlson, a junior environmental science major, used the Walking Escort Program for the first time and felt a sense of security while using this resource. 

“I’m on the rowing team, so we have practice early in the morning, and if I didn’t meet up with people, like we meet up at 5:40 in the morning, if I didn’t have a group to walk with, I would definitely use an escort every single day,” Carlson said.  

While Yasmine Arnwine, a senior early childhood education major, has not used the Walking Escort Program, she believes it is a great safety resource for incoming students who may not be comfortable to navigate campus on their own. 

“They’re getting used to a new place when they’re trying to figure out the territory,” Arnwine said. “Being able to call someone to pick you up instead of being lost in the place that might not be the safest could be a really helpful resource.” 

Continuing into the fall semester, Kaiser hopes that students see the Walking Escort Program as a safe option for traveling around campus and as a reason to live within TUPD’s patrol zone.  

“Heading into the semester just one more measure to try to make students, or give students the tool to make them feel a little bit safer and give them an option that we hope that they would select, that I think will make it safer,” Kaiser said.

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