January 16, 2013

Letter on new campus security measures

Dear Colleagues:
I am writing to update you on security measures instituted after my January 7, 2013, letter about recent incidents on this campus.
First and foremost, I want you to know that after a comprehensive and rigorous investigation into the reported robbery of a UM shuttle driver on January 5 in the 600 Block of West Fayette Street, the Baltimore Police Department has determined that the report is unfounded. This means that the crime never occurred. There is no evidence to corroborate that the shuttle driver was robbed. 
That said, there have been two assault/robberies on this campus in the last two weeks. Obviously, that is two too many. In an attempt to mitigate risk to our faculty, staff and students, University Police has:

  • Dedicated overtime funds to supplement the usual police and security patrols on campus.

  • Added additional police officers and security officers to every shift. The additional officers are concentrating on the Fayette Street corridor and West Pratt Street.

  • Added an additional officer to drive the police van in the evening hours to provide riding escorts around the campus.

  • Asked the Baltimore Police Department to work with University Police to patrol the Fayette Street corridor.

  • Installed new LED lights around the Plaza Park, and the area around Plaza Park is noticeably brighter at night.

In addition, I am very pleased to let you know that the strategic plan implementation executive committee approved $270,000 in funding to enhance our university's security program. The funds will be used to provide training to our security force to improve emergency response capabilities and to enhance security services by adding to the security officers' patrol responsibilities. Funds will also be allocated to bring compensation closer to the current market levels, which will lead to improved recruitment and retention. I have also authorized additional funding for enhanced security measures, and am pleased to report that over the next 12 months I plan to invest more than $750,000 toward campus safety and security.
I urge you to keep in mind that 90 percent of assaults/robberies in 2012 were cell phone-related! In eight out of nine instances, the victims were using their cellphones to call or text at the time of the incident. Please, please, please do not walk and talk or text. The police are doing all they can to protect us, but we must also be responsible for protecting ourselves.
I encourage you to join me and Chief Williams at my upcoming Q & A Session on Tuesday, January 22nd at 10:00 AM in the School of Nursing Auditorium. Campus safety is among the issues we will discuss.

Jay A. Perman, MD