The following message was sent to all Ohio State students, faculty and staff on Tuesday, September 14, 2021.
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
The well-being of our Buckeye community members remains our highest priority. The university is taking multiple measures in our approach to keeping our students, faculty and staff safe.
The most recent measures we have taken – including enhancing off-campus security, adding additional lighting and more cameras, and working with all of our partners to ensure a safer community – are showing early positive effects. Since August 27, serious criminal incidents reported to the Columbus Division of Police (CPD) are down 39% in the University District. The university will continue to refine and broaden our approach to keeping students, faculty and staff safe and, in the longer term, work to address systemic causes of crime in our community.
Below is a summary of actions and additional resources. Please take a moment to review them and continue to always be aware on and off campus.
Working with safety partners
On August 24, I met with new city of Columbus Chief of Police Elaine Bryant to discuss mitigation strategies and to reinforce our partnership focused on enhancing safety and support of all students and community members, including critical efforts in addition to policing that will advance a safer community for everyone. Days later, the university added light towers and cameras along pedestrian pathways, as well as an increased security presence consisting of our regular Community Crime Patrol and our student Campus Service Officers in marked security vehicles. I also directed our Department of Public Safety to deploy additional resources to enhance safety in coordination with the city of Columbus. Over the past three weeks, there has been added law enforcement patrolling our neighborhood streets.
Ohio State continues to increase Ohio State University Police Division (OSUPD) assistance east of High Street and expand community policing programs. During the fall and spring semesters, OSUPD and CPD have increased police presence through crime interdiction programs using overtime to add to neighborhood patrols.
The university remains actively engaged off campus and is committed to working in partnership with the city of Columbus to address crime in this area.
Keeping you informed
With the start of the autumn semester, the university worked to enhance communications on safety issues by using text and email from Ohio State News to provide brief, timely updates to the university community. These news and updates are designed to provide information that you either must know or can immediately use to protect your health and safety on and around campus, such as safety tips, health resources, timely traffic information and more.
These notifications are separate and distinct from Buckeye Alerts, which are sent by our Department of Public Safety when the campus community needs to take immediate action to remain safe. If you have provided your cell phone number to the university for Buckeye Alerts, you will also receive Ohio State News priority updates via text message.
Family, friends and loved ones will also soon be able to sign up for Ohio State News Alerts.
Resources and tips for staying safe
In addition to crime and safety notices that shine a light on crime happening on, or near, our campus, Ohio State is committed to supporting our off-campus neighborhoods by enhancing safety for those who live there. The university continues to make progress on 15 recommendations from our Task Force on Community Safety and Well-Being, with 13 fully or partially implemented, including:
- Increased Community Crime Patrols made up of community partners
- Improved lighting and additional surveillance cameras in the off-campus area
- Expanded discounted ridesharing hours
- An online safety class that will launch shortly this fall
- A partnership with the University District Organization to provide a full-time, licensed independent social worker to support neighborhoods and residents surrounding campus.
- Enhanced cultural diversity training for OSUPD
- Comprehensive safety communications and community outreach, including a Safety Spotlight video series and a comprehensive safety webpage
Personal safety: Ohio State works 24/7 to enhance campus safety, and you can help by taking individual and collective action to help promote a safer community.
- View Safety Spotlight videos that highlight available resources and ways to stay safe on campus.
- Be aware of your surroundings and remove earbuds and headphones when walking, especially late at night.
- Utilize public transportation like CABS or Lyft Ride Smart at Ohio State for students.
- Download the free Rave Guardian app, so you never walk alone again.
- Report on-campus crimes to OSUPD (614-292-2121) and off-campus crimes to CPD (614-645-4545) or the appropriate local law enforcement agency.
- Always dial 9-1-1 in emergencies.
Home safety: At home, always lock your doors and windows. It may be tempting to leave the door unlocked for a housemate or friend, but that allows easy access for criminals, too. Report suspicious behavior, like someone peeking in car windows or walking from house to house seeing if doors are unlocked. Students can get free window and door alarms and safety light timers at the Ohio Union through the Willie J. Young, Sr. Off-Campus and Commuter Student Engagement office.
Do not leave keys in your car and never leave valuables like a laptop or phone unattended in public or visible in your vehicle. Reporting when your valuables are lost or stolen could prevent the same thing from happening to a friend or neighbor or help you recover your property.
Comprehensive campus safety resources are available via the Department of Public Safety. The university will continue to share updates and information about our safety measures.
Kristina M. Johnson, PhD