The university recently announced campus police’s expansion of patrol borders. The new patrol zone is bound by 18th Street to the west, Susquehanna Avenue to the north, Ninth Street to the east and Jefferson Street to the south. Before this extension, Temple Police was not responsible for incidents involving Temple students just beyond campus borders.
Shouldn’t campus police have been dedicated to protecting Temple students all along, despite regulation boundaries? With room and board costs pushing many upperclassmen to rent apartments just off campus, the police should have been patrolling areas highly inhabited by Temple students much sooner.
Sophomore Kiana Mann lives in an off-campus apartment.
“The amount of kids living off campus is growing every year and the majority of those students populate streets that just weren’t covered in the patrol borders before,” the pre-med biochemistry major said.
Last spring, when I first chose to attend Temple, the university’s location and safety weighed heavily on my mind. Shortly after my decision, I saw a newscast about a female Temple student who was attacked and beaten in the face with a brick by a group of young teen girls, only a block off campus. Suddenly, I found myself questioning my choice.
The girls attacked two other students that day, all within a five-block radius of campus. The old patrol borders ended at 16th Street. The victims were only a few blocks from campus jurisdiction.
Even though Temple Police weren’t able to intervene in the attacks, they could have warned other students, but because they weren’t legally obligated to do so under the Clery Act, they did not. Despite the ongoing threat to students, Temple sent out no TU Alerts or TU Ready announcements. They issued an official statement three days later.
Students only initially heard about the incident via Philadelphia news outlets, where I first heard the story myself.
Despite how untimely the expansion may seem in the wake of the brick attacks, at least it’s happening.
As one could imagine, after the news of this incident, people didn’t respond well when I told them my plans to attend Temple. All I heard from people were safety tips for how not to get mugged and questions about whether or not I’ll be carrying pepper spray. I couldn’t help but to feel wary of my new surroundings.
And as the Fall 2014 semester began, I was new not only to Temple, but also to the city itself. I definitely couldn’t have told you the actual boundaries of Main Campus during my first week. So if I had mindlessly wandered a block off campus and something dangerous had happened, I’m glad that the Temple Police would’ve come to my aid. But what shocks me is that if I had been a freshman last fall and something had happened, I wouldn’t be so lucky.
Not all students feel dissatisfied with safety, though. Cara Hobaugh, a sophomore visual studies major, said that Campus Safety Services does a good job of making students feel safe.
“I was walking towards Morgan Hall around 2:30 a.m. and a Temple cop pulled up next to me,” she said. “He told me there was a man walking suspiciously behind me for awhile and he escorted me back to my dorm.”
Inevitably, however, crime will still happen despite the efforts of police. The Temple Police, or any security force for that matter, can only do so much, especially in a big city.
Moving forward, what CSS really needs to do is keep students informed. In the case of the brick incident, Temple students were most upset that they didn’t learn of the attacks through Temple in the form of the university’s TU Alert system. Even with the expansion of the patrol borders, the Clery Act still doesn’t require Temple to send out alerts for incidents in the new patrol zones.
Charlie Leone, executive director of CSS, said that just because alerts are not legally required for incidents in the new patrol borders, doesn’t mean they won’t be sent out anyway.
“I’m anticipating more alerts,” Leone said. “If we feel there’s a threat to students, TU Alerts will be issued.”
Hopefully, with the institution of these new patrol boundaries, CSS will more efficiently and effectively respond to crime, as well as keep students informed of happenings in and around Main Campus.
Jenny Roberts can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on twitter@jennyroberts511