Temple security service expands patrolling borders

Temple University's police force will now patrol a wider area, to include between 9th, 18th, Susquehanna and Jefferson streets.
Temple University's police force will now patrol a wider area, to include between 9th, 18th, Susquehanna and Jefferson streets.
Posted: September 05, 2014

A DAY AFTER the Daily News reported that university students in Philadelphia are frustrated at a lack of alerts about off-campus crime, Temple University yesterday announced an expansion of its patrolling borders by almost 25 square blocks.

"The goal is a few things," said Charles Leone, executive director of Temple's Campus Safety Services. "First thing, to provide another layer of protection. Second piece is to certainly show students and neighbors that we're responsible and safety is a priority."

Although the expansion won't increase the number of crimes reported in annual fire and safety reports, it will increase the number of text and email alerts sent to students regarding off-campus crimes, Leone said. Reports of those crimes also will be available online in Temple's main campus crime logs.

The Clery Act, passed in 1990, requires all colleges and universities to report on-campus crime statistics and to have an accessible crime log. A school also must send out emergency notifications and timely warnings.

Temple's alerts are required to tell students about on-campus crime, but Temple officials decide what off-campus crimes constitute enough of an "immediate threat" or "continuing threat" to warrant an alert.

Leone said about 4,000 of Temple's roughly 35,000 undergraduate students live within the new boundaries.

He said the university began seriously discussing the changes three months ago - when Daily News reporters began probing the issue - and has begun patrolling the extended areas.

Both Temple police and security personnel from AlliedBarton Security Systems will patrol the extension, which reaches west to 18th Street, east to 9th Street, north to Susquehanna Avenue and south to Jefferson Street.

The university will remain partners with the Philadelphia Police Department in patrolling. No additional hires within the university's department were made to accommodate the expansion.

Leone said the change comes in part from criticism the university faced from students and the Daily News regarding a group of teens who assaulted four Temple students in three incidents within a half-hour span in March. A 19-year-old student was hospitalized after she was hit in the face with a brick.

A statement issued three days after the assaults said an alert was not sent out because of miscommunication between Philadelphia cops and the university and because the incident happened a block west of campus.

Leone said he realized that he "had to move the timeline fast" on expanding borders.

The People Paper on Tuesday quoted the victim of the brick assault as saying: "I want Temple to be safer because of this." Her identity is being withheld for her safety.

Philadelphia Police Lt. Patrick Doherty, head of the North Central Detective Division's Special Investigations Unit who oversaw the brick-assault investigation, said the announcement from Temple is beneficial for Philly cops and for the university.

"It helps with our coverage," he said. "When Temple expands, it'll give us more coverage from where Temple students live now."

He said crime is lower closer to Broad Street.

"The reason why there's a migration of students west is because of Temple, and Temple is picking up the responsibilty with protecting and making sure students are safe," Doherty said.

On Twitter: @PatriciaMadej

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