Recent crimes prompt La Salle University to create public safety action plan

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It didn't take long to find students at LaSalle University who have impacted by recent crimes near campus.

"It being Philadelphia and it being a city, you just have to take in that into account and the risk that something could happen at any point and time," said LaSalle student Luke Fey.

"I think that there is an issue, I should not have to be looking around my back and just hoping that no one is going to come behind me and hurt me take anything from me," said student Nicole Vicci.

While some admit they are concerned about safety, others tell Action News despite recent reports of robberies, home invasions and thefts, they are not cornered about safety.

"So, I kind of go against everybody else, a lot of people are complaining about the crime and what not. I personally feel safe on campus," said student Makayla Brant.

Security concerns are not going unnoticed. In response to what the university calls an uptick in off-campus incidents involving students in recent weeks, it is creating a Public Safety Action Plan.

Immediate actions include, among other steps: adding a second Philadelphia officer. One will patrol on a bike the other in a car. The school is also adding another public safety vehicle to patrol in and around campus and offering motion sensor lighting to students off campus at no charge.

School leaders say safety is a top priority.

"Since all of this has happened and since our town hall, that we had with students, there is probably not an hour of the day that myself, our staff, and our president haven't been talking, planning, reaching out and working with the Philadelphia Police Department to find ways to make sure our students are having the best experience that they can here," said Dr. Dawn Soufleris, Vice President of Student Affairs.

Students are on on board with the new security upgrades and believe crimes will decrease.

"Definitely for people who live off campus because I live in a dorm and I am protected. You have to swipe to get in but for my friends off campus, I think it is better for them," said student Haley Sebert.

The university says it will continue to work hard to make sure students feel protected and also remind them that they are sometimes, their best defense against crime.

"Always go with a buddy. Ear buds are probably the one thing that makes us crazy. This is the generation where you pop your ear buds in, and off you go. Take those out so you can be very aware of anything that is happening around you. If you are by yourself, call for someone, our escort service, call a friend," said Dr. Soufleris.
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