The majority of Temple University students feel that the university could be doing more to protect students from crime around campus.
Eighty-nine percent of students answered “no” when asked if they feel Temple is doing enough to protect its students and only about 11 percent responded “yes.” Just less than 50 percent of students reported they have considered transferring because of their safety concerns.
“After the several break ins on temple off campus housing and the late response to doing something about these robberies, I’ve felt like Temple hasn’t cared enough about the safety of students off campus,” wrote an anonymous student who responded to the survey.
The Temple News surveyed approximately 470 students on their thoughts about their thoughts on the university’s campus safety response.
Areas surrounding Main Campus have experienced recurring instances of crime during the Fall semester, including petty theft and home invasions.
Temple is only required to report crimes that occur directly on campus, on public property bordering campus or at affiliated campus buildings, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. This means crimes, like the fatal shooting of a Temple student in November 2021 on Park Avenue near Susquehanna Avenue, were undocumented in the university’s 2021 crime report.
On Nov. 11, two armed men broke into a residence and held 11 students at gunpoint in a basement. The incident came after a similar home invasion occurred on Nov. 9 and was followed by an invasion on Nov. 21.
The university released statements following the incidents to update students and provide them with counseling resources.
When asked how safe students feel on campus, only 8 percent of respondents said they feel very safe on campus, roughly 45 percent feel safe and about 24 percent feel neither safe or unsafe. In comparison, 14 percent feel unsafe and roughly 8 percent of students reported feeling very unsafe on campus.
“More actions need to be taken as many of us do not even feel safe being in our homes,” wrote an anonymous student who responded to the survey. “Little is done to increase safety and many incidents go unreported by the school which is not ok. Every single incident that happens whether on campus or off should be reported if a student is involved.”
When students were asked how safe they feel off-campus, nearly 45 percent said they feel unsafe and around 31 percent feel very unsafe. Almost 21 percent felt neither safe or unsafe and only 4 percent felt either safe or very safe off-campus.
“Living off campus for a year and a half now, there are times where I feel safe and times where I do not,” wrote an anonymous student who responded to the survey. “It is disheartening to hear about all the crime targeted towards Temple students lately, and I think Temple should reevaluate their safety initiatives to keep us all safe.”
The university created a violence reduction task force in January aimed at mitigating violence in areas surrounding Temple. The task force released a report which details their efforts and plans on Nov. 18. A few of their recommendations include strengthening communication between students and the university, reviewing and improving existing efforts and developing a plan for funding towards reduction efforts.
There was nearly a 50 percent split among student respondents when asked if they considered transferring from Temple due to safety concerns. Many students feel like their safety is not being considered when the university makes decisions.
“The Temple administration is choosing to be completely ignorant of [students’] worries and safety concerns, I have thought about transferring multiple times due to their lack of concern for my well-being,” wrote an anonymous student who responded to the survey.
Temple has implemented several safety initiatives for students, like the Walking Escort Program, the Code Blue Emergency phones, the RAVE Temple Guardian app and the FLIGHT shuttle service.
Approximately 49 percent of student respondents have not used any of these programs, but 46 percent said they have used FLIGHT before.
Although Temple relaunched FLIGHT as a fixed route system on Aug. 20, students feel that the change made the program less safe due to the fact riders have to walk further once they’re dropped off. There are now more than 40 fixed stops in the university’s patrol area. The routes go as far north as Diamond Street, as far south as Master Street and between North 12th and North 18th Street.
“I am confused on why the FLIGHT was changed to bus stops and routes instead of the destination pick up and drop off,” wrote an anonymous student who responded to the survey. “I do not feel safe waiting at a bus stop at night and have not used it for that reason. I feel as though the previous method was safer and smarter.”
In addition, about 11 percent of students have used the Walking Escort Program and only 8 percent have used the RAVE app, introduced in February 2022. The least-used campus safety resource is the Code Blue Emergency phones with approximately 3 percent of respondents sharing they have used them.
In response to feeling unsafe at and around Temple, students have suggestions for what should be done to address safety challenges.
“I think Temple should only offer virtual classes at night, or at least have ample alternative classes they could take,” one anonymous respondent wrote. “It’s unsafe for the majority of their students to walk home at 8 p.m.”