While students relax this winter break, Penn Police will be busy at work.
“We don’t change anything,” when students are away, Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said.
Penn Police remain a necessary force, even after most students have left campus. The number of police officers and AlliedBarton security officers will stay the same throughout winter break, she added.
Some students, such as those who live considerable distances from campus, may remain at Penn during the break, Rush said. In addition, some faculty and staff live in the area.
The “low occupancy” that results with fewer people on campus “could be dangerous for them,” Rush said.
She also believes it is important to continue to protect the surrounding community, including retailers and families.
Robbery rates may increase during the holiday season because many people don’t have money to buy presents, she added.
In general, crime rates are relatively lower at Penn over winter break. When there are fewer people on campus, there is “less potential for victimization,” Rush said.
During the finals period, as students are studying late at night, there will be heightened security.
As in the past, DPS will offer a special walk-back program during exam, an initiative that was organized with the help of the Undergraduate Assembly.
From Dec. 11 to 22, additional AlliedBarton security officers will be posted at the entrance of Van Pelt Library to offer escort services to those heading home at night, said the DPS Director of Security Services Cherie Heller.
The walking escorts help decrease the risk of students encountering danger, DPS spokesperson Stef Karp said.
She referred to 2004 College graduate Kevin Neary, who was shot in the neck in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia on Nov. 15. “He was walking by himself when he got shot,” she said. “There is safety in numbers.”
This story has been updated to clarify that Neary was shot in Northern Liberties.
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