At any point during the night on certain corners of Main Campus, a guard can be found in a kiosk, silently observing people passing him or her by.
Without being able to read or listen to music, it’s sometimes hard to tell what those kiosk guards are up to in those early morning hours.
While guards don’t have the authority to make arrests or carry weapons, they monitor the activity on the streets and are responsible for contacting Campus Police so they can be on the scene within minutes if an incident occurs.
“We are the eyes and ears of Temple,” said Ralph Overton, a security officer who mans the post at the corner of 15th and Diamond streets.
“We monitor acts in the neighborhood. We’re the in-betweens of the action and the police officers.”
The security guard kiosks can be found on several off-campus blocks with large student populations, such as 15th Street and Cecil. B. Moore Avenue, Broad Street and Susquehanna Avenue and 16th and Berks streets.
Though not bullet-proof, most kiosks are equipped with safety glass, which is shatterproof glass that breaks in large pieces instead of jagged shards. Booths are also equipped with space heaters for winter months.
If a guard sees a crime take place, they aren’t required to intervene.
“Temple Police takes care of it,” said James Wu, a security officer guarding the 15th and Montgomery streets intersection.
“We radio them, tell them the destination, and they get here in one to two minutes. If it took any longer, it wouldn’t do any good. Then I fill out an incident report to prove to Temple I did something.”
Some guards estimated needing to radio police only once a month, while others said itwas closer to twice a week.
According to Wu, how frequently police are called depends on which post the guard is working and the time of day. Wu said that during the evening and when local area high schools let out are the most eventful times of day.
Kenny Stone, a security officer who often works at the 16th and Berks streets kiosk, said sometimes the police get to the scene before he can even radio them because they patrol the area frequently.
“If something happens, I can just wave one down,” Stone said. “They’re always around me.” Stone said he prefers standing by the street and monitoring the area to sitting in the kiosk.
“Students tell me to go in the booth to get warm,” Stone said. “If I’m in there, how am I supposed to see what’s going on? I want the students to see me and know where I am.”
I know these students have parents of their own, but when you’re on my block, I’m responsible for you,” Stone said. “I’m willing to put my own health and safety on the line for those students.”
Enrico Fioranelli, a junior who lives on 16th Street, said the guards’ presence makes him feel safer.
“There’s been a lot less break-ins since [the guards have] been around,” Fioranelli said. The guards’ presence serves largely as a way to deter crime.
“It’s a service,” Overton said. “I can prevent a potential rape, or a purse snatching, or a car getting broken into. It’s more than just a job.”
According to Wu, the kiosks are never supposed to be left unattended in the night hours. If he needs to use the bathroom, he said he “[calls his] supervisor and ask him for a brief, and someone comes and takes [his] place,” said Wu. “Then I do my business.”
Most guards said students don’t need to worry if they see a guard while walking home from a party.
“You can get as inebriated as you want, and someone will have an eye on you,” Overton said, laughing. “It’s good to know you can come home late and there’s someone out there.”
Vicky Thomas can be reached at email@example.com.