Enhancing Safety Throughout Our Campus and Neighborhoods
October 18, 2022
Dear Students and Colleagues,
Over the past several days, many Drexel parents have reached out to me to express their apprehension about the state of public safety on and around Drexel's campus and wanting to know what we are doing to keep their children and all our students and employees safe.
These concerns are entirely justified, and I share them. As Drexel's President and as a parent with a daughter currently attending Drexel, I set no higher priority than the safety and security of all our students. On one hand, according to all publicly available crime statistics, our campus and University City neighborhood remain among the safest and most vibrant in Philadelphia. That is due in large part to Drexel's long-term investments in public safety, the extensive collaborations around safety and security that we have built with institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania, and our neighborhood and community partnerships around clean and safe streets led by the University City District, of which Drexel was a founding member.
On the other hand, "reasonably safe" is not an acceptable threshold when violent crime and robberies are surging in all parts of the city, and especially when the increasing frequency of reported incidents on or near campus has many of our students and colleagues feeling more fearful.
That is why we have taken serious proactive measures over the past two years to further improve public safety on and around campus, and why we are applying additional resources and measures going forward.
I would like to review those measures and resources with you now.
First, we have invested several millions of dollars of additional funds toward hiring more sworn police officers, Allied Universal security officers, and police dispatchers; installing more security cameras and improving outside street lighting on campus and in nearby neighborhoods; and purchasing new equipment, including police radios and bicycles. These investments will allow us to continue expanding foot and bicycle patrols and security surveillance throughout the campus and surrounding neighborhoods.
At the same time, pooling public safety resources and sharing information along common communication platforms allow us to work hand in glove with our partners at the University of Pennsylvania, SEPTA, Amtrak, University City District, and the Philadelphia Police Department — with whom we coordinate additional patrols in areas experiencing increased crime and to provide back up as needed.
Second, we are implementing other necessary measures in order to enhance the sense of safety and security throughout our campus and neighborhoods. We have begun providing extra police patrols in areas where evening classes are held as well as around recreational facilities such as the Daskalakis Athletic Center (DAC) that are open late into the evening. We also have expanded shuttle services later at night from places and areas frequented by large numbers of students. Finally, we are assessing the best way to expand our patrol boundaries into the neighborhoods north of campus, where more students are choosing to live and more neighbors are asking for help.
Third, Drexel does offer excellent safety resources, tips and information through our Public Safety website. Speaking again as a parent, we can neither remind our students too often that public safety is a team effort, nor encourage them too much to familiarize themselves with these resources and to use them. We ask all our students, faculty, and professional staff to download the Drexel Guardian app, which directly connects them to the Drexel Public Safety Communications Center in the event of an emergency. And no student should ever hesitate to call 215.895.2222 for a walking escort.
I want to take a moment to address possible misunderstandings about how our DrexelAlert system, which enables fast and efficient dissemination of critical information to members of the Drexel University community, works. As soon as the Drexel Police are notified of an incident that presents an active threat to the Drexel community, an alert is sent to students, faculty and professional staff. If an incident does not constitute an active threat, a Public Safety Advisory may be issued to provide the community with relevant information. For more information, please go to the Drexel Alert website.
No Drexel student or parent should have a moment's worry or regret about choosing Drexel. Nor should fear of crime prevent any student from taking advantage of everything that Drexel and Philadelphia have to offer.
So make no mistake: The additional investments we have made and measures we have taken are part of a long-term plan for restoring a sense of safety throughout our campus and neighborhoods. More investments and smart measures will follow.
I look forward to staying in close communication with you through regular and timely public safety updates.