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April 21, 8:41 p.m.

Violent crime has dropped significantly since Drexel University unveiled its new police department, according to Drexel's Senior Associate Vice President for Public Safety Domenic Ceccanecchio.

After being officially recognized as a law enforcement agency by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office in June 2008, the department has been operational since March 15.

Currently, 12 uniformed officers police a patrol zone between 30th and 36th streets east to west and Spring Garden and Chestnut streets north to south.

The officers work from 4:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. each day, although the department hopes to add more officers and begin 24-hour patrols by October of this year, Ceccanecchio said.

Drexel's Hahnemann campus, located at 14th and Race streets, and its Queen Lane Medical Campus, located at 2900 Queen Lane, also receive regular patrols.

"With undergraduate enrollment having doubled over the past 10 years and Drexel's physical footprint also rapidly expanding, the university felt that the time was right to add a law enforcement component to its program," Ceccanecchio said.

Previously, Drexel had employed Allied Barton security guards in and around its campus, relying on Philadelphia Police Department for law enforcement.

And although the security guards remain - providing eyes and ears on the street and being in 24-hour radio contact with Drexel Department for Public Safety's Communication Center - the addition of an on-campus law enforcement agency makes for a more holistic approach to public safety, Ceccanecchio said.

See Tuesday's Daily Pennsylvanian for more information.

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