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Fighting and Preventing Crime

Friday, February 10, 2017

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Dear Tulane Community,

Ensuring the safety of our academic community is our top priority. So, I want to update you on the progress of our many crime-preventing and safety-promoting efforts.

Since I last wrote to you on this issue in October, we have worked closely with city government and Entergy to replace broken street lights in the neighborhoods around our uptown campus and to trim trees that block those lights. This has made a significant difference in the level of lighting on neighborhood streets. By the end of February, we will have completed the project to replace all 1,100 light fixtures on the uptown campus with LED bulbs that provide far better illumination than traditional lighting. We will keep working on ways to improve lighting and to increase crime cameras in the areas surrounding both our uptown and downtown campuses.

We are continuing our increased police presence both on and off campus, including designating patrolled pedestrian pathways on off-campus streets frequented by students. We are also seeing increased participation in our free shuttle rides program and police escorts, our self-defense classes and in the use of the RAVE Guardian app.

To ensure that we are following the best practices in crime prevention and safety, we hired Maureen Rush, an award-winning, nationally recognized expert in public safety to provide a comprehensive analysis of our efforts and to recommend ways that we can improve. She was impressed by our operation, but has also given us feedback that we will quickly implement.

Additionally, we have been examining the practices and outcomes of our peer institutions in the area of crime prevention and safety. Among 10 institutions of similar size and settings including Rice, Vanderbilt, Loyola-Chicago, the University of Miami, Georgetown, Emory, Boston University, NYU, Duke and the University of South Carolina, only two had lower overall crime rates than Tulane throughout the past five years. This includes crimes committed both on campus and in the areas immediately adjacent to campus.

This data, of course, is not comforting to those members of our community who have been victimized by crime, including the student who was robbed at gunpoint off campus yesterday. But such information is useful as a guide to where we stand and how much more we need to do to make our community safe.

I wish that I could tell you that it is within Tulane's power to prevent all crime near our urban campus. What I can do is continue to work harder and to find more ways to protect our community. With advice from our national consultant, increased patrols, continued cooperation between our police force and New Orleans police, better lighting and camera surveillance, public service initiatives aimed at increasing opportunities for our city's youth and an unwavering commitment to building a safer academic community, we know we will do better.

Ensuring safety also includes caring for our community members during and after natural disasters such as the violent weather that passed through our area this week. While our campuses were untouched by the storm, a number of our students and employees had their homes damaged or destroyed. We are reaching out to these Tulanians to assist in their recovery. We ask any affected student, with whom we may not have yet communicated, to contact Student Affairs. You, too, can help these and other storm survivors by donating to Second Harvest or other nonprofit organizations.

Keeping our community safe may be a complex, multi-faceted and never-ending effort, but it is one to which every member of Tulane is wholeheartedly dedicated.