As you know, Temple is a vibrant community, and I suspect that is what has brought many of you to North Broad Street. It is important that you also know we are doing everything we can to ensure that the Temple community—students, faculty, staff and neighbors—feels safe.
Our Department of Public Safety has been hard at work this summer. We have launched TUSafe, a new, one-stop personal safety app; increased patrols through a new 12-hour shift pilot program; expanded Allied Security staffing and a new arrangement with Philadelphia police; reached a new, expanded agreement with our police union; and will replace and upgrade nearly 500 cameras this year. Learn more about the public safety enhancements we have made.
We know, however, that while practical public safety enhancements are important, we also have to get to the crux of the matter, which is addressing the root causes of gun violence. Last year, our Violence Reduction Task Force recommended that the university develop a comprehensive and coordinated strategy for community engagement efforts focused on violence reduction. The comprehensive report conducted by former commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department Charles H. Ramsey and his firm, 21CP Solutions, on our public safety function reinforced this key concept, and we are pleased to say that we are well on our way.
In May, Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke introduced a resolution that called for both Temple and the city to form a task force that would address the underlying factors contributing to violence. Just last week, together with Council President Clarke, I convened the first meeting of the leadership group of the Community-Temple Partnership Safety Zone, and together, we are eager to work toward this shared goal.
This fall, Temple will also open the Temple Community Gateway, a new neighborhood hub where community members can get help to access many resources, both here at Temple and across Philadelphia. If a community member needs to know how they can pursue adult education or job training opportunities at Temple, the Community Gateway can help. If they need help with an application for food assistance, the center will be able to walk them through the process. The center will also provide assistance to anyone needing access to healthcare programs.
I know that for many of you, the ability to have an impact on Temple’s community is a key aspect of why you chose to come here. I am always impressed by the ways that our students give back, whether it be through our Office of Community Affairs or through the many other opportunities that are available. We welcome your enthusiasm, and we will be sharing more information about our anti-violence efforts in the weeks and months to come. No person or institution can solve this challenge alone; we hope that you will join us in our commitment to finding and implementing solutions.
JoAnne A. Epps