Temple University, once hailed for its academic excellence and lively campus life, now finds itself enveloped in an atmosphere of fear and insecurity. The disconcerting crime statistics within a mere half-mile radius of the university’s core are not mere figures on a page; they signify the shattered trust and eroding sense of safety experienced by students, faculty, and community members. This is a grave situation that demands immediate attention and decisive action.

The alarming statistics speak for themselves. Over the past six months alone, within a half-mile radius of the campus, three homicides, seven reported cases of rape, 54 robberies, 45 incidents of aggravated assault, 51 burglaries, 400 thefts, and 170 cases of auto theft have taken place. These numbers paint a distressing picture of an institution grappling with a severe crime problem. It is deeply unsettling that such criminal activity can persist in such close proximity to a place of higher education.

While it is true that no institution can entirely eliminate crime, the abysmal state of safety at Temple University calls for a proactive response. Students, faculty, and concerned citizens have demanded immediate action, calling for a complete overhaul of the security infrastructure and a comprehensive plan to address the root causes of crime. Yet, the administration’s response has been woefully inadequate, falling short of the urgent reforms that are required.

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Temple University’s current approach, characterized by shallow public relations maneuvers, does little to tackle the root causes of the safety crisis. Students, faculty, police officers, and community members deserve more than carelessly crafted statements and empty promises. It’s high time for the university to prioritize action over optics and acknowledge that a problem exists. Only then can Temple University begin the arduous task of rebuilding trust and actively work toward creating a safe environment for all.

The primary focus must be on implementing tangible measures aimed at enhancing safety on campus and in the surrounding area. This encompasses increased police presence, proactive policing strategies, improved surveillance systems, and effective communication channels to collaborate with overlapping jurisdictions regarding active threats and in progress crimes. It is imperative that Temple University adopts a proactive approach to safeguard the well-being of its students, staff, and visitors.

As the President of the Temple University Police Association (TUPA), the labor union responsible for representing the university’s law enforcement personnel, I have personally witnessed the detrimental consequences of inadequate leadership at Temple. We have tirelessly worked to improve safety within the institution and neighborhood, forging enduring partnerships with community leaders and advocating for enhancements by engaging elected officials. However, instead of collaborating with us, the Temple University administration has opposed our strategies and deliberately attempted to undermine our credibility. 

While it is true that no institution can entirely eliminate crime, the abysmal state of safety at Temple University calls for a proactive response.

It has become abundantly clear that transparency is not a cherished virtue at Temple University. The administration consistently exhibits a reluctance to embrace openness and candor, hindering the establishment of a more harmonious relationship between our organization and the university’s leadership. Their resistance to working in tandem with us has not only hindered the progress we seek to achieve but has also fostered an atmosphere of skepticism and doubt among the broader Temple community. 

You cannot rely on public relations to evade the consequences of a crime crisis. Unfortunately, tragic incidents will persist at Temple University, and unless decisive measures are taken, the number of enrolled students will continue to dwindle. Temple will constantly appeal for increased state funding as enrollment declines, burdening taxpayers due to their reluctance to take appropriate action. Temple’s actions are robbing students, staff, community members, and alumni of their ability to take pride in this institution.

TUPA and our dedicated members will persistently exert ourselves in the pursuit of a safer Temple community, tirelessly striving every day. We implore those in positions of authority to align themselves with our crucial mission.

Alec Shaffer has been in law enforcement for over six years and is the President of the Temple University Police Association.

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