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I would like to respond to the Daily Pennsylvanian Staff Editorial of Thursday, August 2, 2001 titled, "Student safety at risk." The article implies that the level of police, security and transit services at Penn decreases during the summer months. This is absolutely incorrect. All safety and security services operate at peak performance and staffing levels throughout the year -- including the summer months.

Over the past seven years, the University has invested financial and human resources in order to dramatically increase the safety and security of not just Penn's immediate campus, but also the neighborhood surrounding Penn. Through a combination of an increased police and security presence, state of the art security technology, including CCTV cameras on city streets, and a revitalization plan for commercial and residential properties, including new and exciting retail mixes, the University has dramatically reduced crime in University City. For example, between 1996 and 2000, there was a 66 percent decrease in robberies and a 33 percent decrease in ALL reported crime within the Penn Police.

Patrol boundaries, 30th Street to 43rd Street, Baltimore Avenue to Market Street, for the summer months of May, June and July 2001 vs. the same period in 2000, there has been a 22 percent decrease in ALL reported crime.

In August 2000, the Division of Public Safety integrated its entire Allied-SpectaGuard Walking Patrol program into the University City District's Safety Ambassador program. By incorporating these two entities we created a seamless security presence within University City. In addition to the visual impact of the entire security force now wearing the yellow UCD uniforms, this merger:

Extended the Walking Patrol program's geographical boundaries. The new Walking Patrol area extends from 30th Street Station to 50th Street and from Spring Garden Street to Woodland Avenue.

Increased the hours of operation for the Walking Patrol program from the old hours of 6pm to 3am to the new hours of 8am to 3am, seven days a week.

Allowed us to offer vehicle assistance (dead batteries/lockouts) within the same boundaries as the Walking Patrol program.

Improved the response to homeless and panhandling issues by training the entire UCD/Penn Security team on humane response methods.

Enabled us to offer more walking escorts. Specifically, from January to May 2001, we provided 765 walking escorts; in June, 85 escorts and in July, 90.

I believe all of our security and safety programs have produced a very safe and secure environment. With the continued partnership among the Division of Public Safety, the UCD and Penn and West Philadelphia community members, we can continue to improve the safety, security and quality of life for our community.

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