PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Temple University is increasing security around its North Philadelphia campus after an 18-year-old was fatally shot early Tuesday morning.
"I know they're deploying more patrols. That makes me feel a little bit more safe," said Temple senior Jackson Saulino.
The university announced the safety changes in a letter to the Temple community on Wednesday night.
"I am reaching out today regarding another public health crisis that has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and also affects our entire community. Earlier this week, an 18-year-old member of the Philadelphia community was fatally shot near campus while walking with his girlfriend. Gun violence is all too common, both here in Philadelphia and across the United States," said Charlie Leone, the executive director of public safety at Temple.
"I have been seeing more Temple patrols running around. That definitely makes me feel safer when I'm going to the subway," said senior McKenzie Jarrell.
Police say two men approached 18-year-old Ahmir Jones and his girlfriend near the 1700 block of Cecil B. Moore around 2:15 a.m. Tuesday and announced a robbery.
"They put both the male and female against the wall. They went through their pockets. They took the female's cellphone. And according to the female, for no reason, they fired a shot striking this 18-year-old victim in the chest," Philadelphia Chief Inspector Scott Small said.
Jones later died from his injuries at the hospital.
No arrests have been made in the case.
To help address immediate concerns, Temple says it is taking the following steps:
- Increasing Temple police and bike security patrols in key areas.
- Working with the Philadelphia Police to deploy additional supplemental directed patrols.
- Placing barriers along Cecil B. Moore and Park Avenue to deter drag racing.
- Working closely with the Philadelphia Police Intelligence Unit to monitor social media accounts with increased frequency, so that we're aware of any planned activity in the area.
- Increasing camera monitoring of key areas where questionable activity has occurred.
"Sometimes when I'm walking, I feel insecure. You know what I mean? I don't know what's going to happen, and there's really less people," said sophomore Vivek Kopapati.
"I live on Gratz Street and Montgomery. Walking home in the dark is a little scary there because there's less patrol, but campus is patrolled really well. I've never felt unsafe or anything," said sophomore Kelsey Caladie.
The university is reminding students about its safety program. Security officers on bicycles can accompany anyone on campus. Students can request the service by calling 8-WALK from a campus phone or 215-777-WALK (9255) from a cell phone. These escorts are available from 4 p.m. to 6 a.m. seven days a week.
The free on-demand shuttle service, Flight, is also available. Temple community members can request rides between the main campus and nearby residential addresses between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m. seven nights a week during the academic year. To request a ride from Flight, download the TapRide app and select Temple University.