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Exclusive: Temple University president discusses initiatives to keep students safe on and off campus

New Temple University president talks solutions to keep students safe on and off campus
New Temple University president talks solutions to keep students safe on and off campus 02:18

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- It's move-in week for Temple University students. While most are thinking of classes and activities, the university's president says there are a lot of new things to look out for, including upgrades to campus safety initiatives.

Temple President Dr. Jason Wingard spoke exclusively to Eyewitness News on Thursday.

Temple says it's working to come up with solutions to improve safety, like putting together a database that ranks off-campus apartments. It comes after the shooting death of a student that happened near the university last year.

"We are not immune, Temple University, from what's happening in Philadelphia," Wingard said. 

Philadelphia's record number of homicides in 2021 included the murder of Temple student Samuel Collington near campus.

It hit too close to home for Wingard.

"Certainly it was a very, very sad occurrence," he said.

Wingard says in response to the shooting, the university put together a violence reduction task force of students, alumni and community members.

"They actually are coming up with solutions and we started to put some of those things in place," Wingard said.

One example is a new database, expected to launch later this year, that will rank the safety of off-campus apartments based on security cameras, lighting and more.

"So that their parents will know and students will know that they're living in a place that is compliant with as many safety measures as we think as necessary," Wingard said.

Temple is also investing in other safety improvements.

"We are making sure that we spend money on lighting, on trash collection, on other neighborhood activities that can reduce the crime," Wingard said.

But hiring campus safety officers has been a challenge.

In March, Eyewitness News shared that Temple's police department had a low number of officers.

Days later in April, Temple announced its police chief would be resigning.

But now Wingard says he's made changes.

"We are investing in additional police officers, we are expanding our [walking escort program to cover the entirety of our] patrol zone to go well beyond campus and to the surrounding neighborhoods where our students live," Wingard said.

Temple has hired a new police chief. She starts next week. 

Exclusive: Temple University president on changes students should expect this year 02:11
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