University News

Safety task force releases interim report

U. could approve continuation of extended OnCall service, increased funds for security cameras

By
Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Campus Safety Task Force’s interim report, released Dec. 19, recommended continuing the piloted expansion of Brown University Shuttle’s OnCall service and maintaining 10 “yellow jacket” security officers at fixed positions on campus. The report also calls for  increasing funding for security cameras and adding new cameras designed to read license plates.

President Christina Paxson formed the Campus Safety Task Force in September amid concerns over incidents of armed robbery this past summer, said Executive Vice President for Planning and Policy Russell Carey ’91 MA’06, who chaired the task force.

While the regular BUS transports students on a fixed route across campus, the OnCall service lets students request a ride to any destination in the coverage area currently between 5 p.m. and 3 a.m and 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. when Daylight Savings Time is in effect.

As a pilot program, “it was unknown if (OnCall) would not be used at all or overwhelmed,” Carey said.

According to the report, OnCall experienced a 31 percent increase in ridership from the 2012-2013 academic year to this one, and the fixed route BUS experienced a 170 percent jump in ridership over the same time period.

Carey cited this year’s larger vehicles as a reason for the increased ridership, which he said he views as a success.

The report recommended maintaining the number of highly visible “yellow jacket” security officers, which increased this academic year from four to 10.

Deputy Chief of Police for the Department of Public Safety Paul Shanley said the fixed-post officers deter  crime, while simultaneously making students feel safer.

Whether the report’s recommendations are ultimately funded depends on  their receiving the endorsement of the University Resources Committee, which will convene ahead of the February Corporation meeting, Carey said.

The task force, president and provost all consider safety a “high priority,” worthy of investment, Carey said, but he added that “we live in an urban environment that is not going to be completely free of crime.”

A final version of the task force’s report — which will be released later this semester — will also include discussion of lighting and public safety education, Carey said.

“We’re trying to figure out what is the best way to communicate so we can be effective in our messages,” Shanley said.

DPS aims to continue to raise awareness of safety resources such as BUS, SafeWalk and the emergency blue light posts, he added.

“I think that the recommendations address campus safety issues that were pressing at the moment,” said Kevin Chen ’15, one of three undergraduates on the task force. “They are all things that would benefit students.”

Chen called the installation of security cameras designed to read license plates a key provision of the interim report not included in the campus-wide email Carey sent announcing the report in December, adding that he supports installing these cameras as an effective means of catching a criminal’s getaway car.

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