Update on juvenile meetups

To the Temple community,   

Last night, just after 7:00 p.m., Temple University’s Department of Public Safety (TUDPS) issued a TUalert in response to a shots fired incident reported on the 1600 block of Sydenham Street following a meetup of 50-60 children. Temple University Police Department (TUPD) officers and Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) officers responded immediately and multiple arrests were made. As soon as TUDPS becomes aware of these meetup events which are usually posted on social media, we communicate and coordinate with PPD, which allocates significant resources toward managing these meetups.  Non-university events that occur on public sidewalks within the city like this are challenging to manage, because on most days, the gatherings do not pose a safety threat to the community. 

Since last semester, Temple Police have stationed a marked patrol vehicle and police officer at the corner of Broad and Cecil B. Moore during busy high volume pedestrian times. Additionally, a security officer is and has been stationed at the corner 24/7. We will continue to evaluate measures to deter unlawful behavior, while recognizing people’s First Amendment right to assemble. The sidewalks in and around Main Campus are considered public spaces, and groups of people are allowed to gather there. 

This semester, however, there have been multiple instances where significant groups of unsupervised juveniles have gathered, causing disruptions and sometimes engaging in criminal activity. Some children engaging in this behavior are as young as 10-years-old.  When unlawful activity occurs, PPD and TUPD quickly respond and take action to apprehend those involved and bring order. 

Public safety is everybody’s responsibility. I share Commissioner Bethel’s encouragement of parental involvement to support law enforcement's efforts to keep the community safe. Several young children are facing serious charges related to criminal activity that happened during meetups in multiple locations across Philadelphia from earlier this year. PPD and TUPD will continue to take a strong approach to these illegal behaviors that disrupt the quality of life of our community. 

To that end, and as part of the University’s plan to augment safety resources, Temple University also pays for 288 hours of additional police patrols from PPD for the patrol zone to increase their presence and engagement in and around campus. This is in addition to the 22nd District’s regular patrols, and other specialized units that PPD is allocating. There has been and will continue to be an increase in PPD police officers in and around campus.

While the PPD detectives are leading this investigation, anyone with information regarding last night’s meetup should contact PPD or Temple Police at 215-204-1234. We also encourage all members of the Temple community to stay updated regarding the university’s available safety resources

Best regards,

Jennifer D. Griffin
Vice President & Chief for Public Safety