In the wake of the shooting approximately a mile from campus on Sept. 25 and numerous armed robberies and muggings, the department of Public Safety and Security has stepped up security measures to ensure student and community safety off campus.
Vice President of Public Safety, Gary Christie, noted that even prior to the events over the weekend, Public Safety, in collaboration with the South Orange Police Department, began providing designated police patrols in the streets surrounding campus.
“South Orange Police will provide a radio car and Seton Hall University will compensate an officer to conduct these patrols from 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. Friday through Wednesday,” Christie said. On Thursdays, the patrol will run until 4 a.m.”
In addition to increased SOPD patrols, Christie added that Public Safety has also added extra patrols and video surveillance in areas of concern. However, increased security measures do not mean that students or anyone in the community need to exercise less caution when traveling off-campus.
“Anyone traveling off-campus should always be cautious and take precautions to ensure their personal safety, not just near campus, but wherever they travel,” Christie said. “Near campus, when available, use University provided transportation like the SHUFLY and the CASE Van, and we have extended hours of service for both.”
In a broadcast e-mail on Sept. 27, the University outlined specific expanded hours for both services to be implemented immediately.
The CASE van, which departs from Public Safety, now runs from 5 p.m. – 2 a.m. daily. SHUFLY shuttles now run until 2 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Service has been extended to 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
Christie also continued to stress the power of numbers, and that students should not travel after dark alone. He said that moments prior to the robbery between Gardner Ave. and Fairview Ave. on Sept. 25, there were several groups of students traveling on Ward Pl. However, the woman traveling alone was targeted.
“Our students need to be street smart and use common sense,” Christie said. “Public Safety and SOPD will do everything we can to provide the safest environment possible.”
Christie also responded to the safety concerns which arise during off campus parties, especially after the shooting.
“Whatever the social group is that is having a party (Greeks, Athletes etc.) the message should be the same,” Christie said. “If you expect large numbers of students to be walking back and forth to campus, be a responsible host. Call for a ride, have a group escort set up and don’t let someone who is intoxicated leave alone where they may find themselves in over their head.”
Christie also stressed the need for hosts to control their events by not taking money at the door, abiding by alcohol and noise ordinances and by refraining from posting details about an event on a social networking site, which may draw unwanted attention. If someone does in fact present a weapon, Christie urged students to avoid confrontation and call police to let them handle the situation.
Christie said that he did not believe that the violent events which transpired were a Greek Life issue, and that all students should “exercise good judgment.”
Currently, Public Safety collaborates with SOPD to continue to ensure student and community safety.
“We work very closely with South Orange Police and collaborate on all safety issues,” Christie said. “We exchange information daily on things happening both on and off campus; we discuss crime trends and develop strategies to address problems as they emerge.”
Samantha Desmond can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.