Temple University hires 8 new officers, but campus police say more needs to be done to address 'rampant' violent crime
Eight new officers were inducted into the Temple University Police Department as two violent crimes adjacent to campus disrupt students.
‘If Temple decides to stick to the status quo, we'll continue to see violent crime run rampant on campus,’ Rossman Shaffer of the Temple University Police Association notes.
Eight new officers were inducted on Friday into the Temple University Police Department (TUPD), but students and officers say the administration is not doing enough to address the growing crime problem encroaching on campus.
Over 15,000 violent crimes were committed in Philadelphia in 2022, including 504 murders and nearly 600 rapes, according to city data. Property crimes also increased by over 30% from 2021.
Less than 24 hours before the new contingent of officers was sworn in, a 25-year-old was stabbed near campus and was admitted to Temple University Hospital in critical condition, according to the local ABC affiliate.
6ABC also reported on Sunday that three women were shot in an altercation outside of an off-campus student housing complex across the street from the Temple football practice facility. The gunman was also shot and is in critical condition.
None of the victims were Temple students.
[RELATED: Students suggest safety measures after latest incident in year of high crime]
Campus Reform has covered crime rates at Temple since the school's 2020 divestment from the Philadelphia Police Foundation (PPF), a charitable organization that is “the only [one] authorized to raise funds for the Philadelphia Police Department.”
At the time, then-President Richard Englert announced that the University would instead “reallocate” funds previously donated to the PPF “to support social justice programs at the university.”
. @TempleUniv needs to significantly invest in their police officers. Immediately.
PLEASE SEE BELOW STATEMENT @TUPAPresident pic.twitter.com/1WzmHlPan5
— Temple University Police Association (@officialTUPA) March 19, 2023
The President of the Temple University Police Association (TUPA), Alec Shaffer, told Campus Reform in June that his officers lacked the institutional support and resources to effectively secure the campus community, and the situation has not changed.
The TUPA told Campus Reform that it is thrilled to have eight new officers, “but unfortunately the university still has not provided enough resources to retain all the police officers that they hire” due to significant underfunding compared to other jurisdictions.
“The universities PR strategy has been to blame ‘national shortages’ of police officers on their own retainment issues instead of taking accountability and actually doing what it takes to attract applicants,” TUPA representative Rossman Shaffer told Campus Reform.
BRAWL VIDEO: Violent crime, disorder, and lawlessness continues at @TempleUniv
Crime at Morgan Hall is so severe that the dining hall is now closed to the public and only taking to-go orders!
This is what VP of Public Safety Dr Jennifer Griffin calls “exceptionally safe” pic.twitter.com/2qZhYl89Cm
— PhillyCrimeUpdate (@PhillyCrimeUpd) March 21, 2023
“If the university is actually serious about improving safety at Temple, they'll value their police officers appropriately.”
Temple student and Campus Reform Correspondent Oscar Buynevich agrees that the induction of eight new officers this week is “not nearly enough” and that the school ought “to prioritize retention of current officers, and recruit much more to get to the staffing level needed.”
During his time at Temple, Buynevich has witnessed several shootings near his off-campus residences within walking distance to campus and was tangentially involved in an incident in which 11 Temple students were held hostage and robbed in November 2022.
A student who preferred to remain nameless told the local ABC affiliate that she witnessed last week’s stabbing, saying, “I started seeing the blood trail and I was just so concerned about what happened.” She also reported witnessing a robbery outside one of the subway stations near campus.
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Another student, Chloe Oswald, noted that Temple President Jason Wingard “doesn't really understand that there's a lot of violence toward Temple students.”
“If Temple decides to stick to the status quo, we'll continue to see violent crime run rampant on campus,” said Shaffer.
The Temple administration have not yet responded to Campus Reform’s request for comment, but this article will be updated accordingly.
Follow Gabrielle M. Etzel on Twitter.