Safety On and Around Campus
June 24, 2009
To the Georgia Tech campus community:
All of us here at Georgia Tech continue to be very concerned about the recent crimes that have occurred in the areas surrounding the Georgia Tech campus. I want to reassure you that we are committed to making our campus and the surrounding neighborhoods, where our students, faculty and staff reside, as safe as possible. I have heard from a number of you who have asked what measures, in addition to the numerous safe campus initiatives we already have in place, we are taking.
First, let me assure you that the safety and security of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority, and we will continue to work closely with the Atlanta Police Department (APD) to protect you and make the Atlanta neighborhoods as safe as possible for everyone.
I have been pleased with the level of cooperation and coordination between the Atlanta Police Department and the Georgia Tech Police Department, and these two groups continue to work very well together. Yesterday, five members of the Atlanta Police Department, including Assistant Chief Peter Andersen and Assistant Commander for Zone 5 Joe Spilan, joined three members of the Georgia Tech Police Department and members of the senior leadership team from Georgia Tech to review our current efforts and discuss what additional steps we could take to enhance our partnership in addressing safety in the areas surrounding the Georgia Tech campus. Following this meeting, I spoke with Mayor Shirley Franklin and she assured me that the city would continue to support our efforts in every way possible.
Yesterday afternoon the Atlanta Police Department hosted a news conference on the Georgia Tech campus to outline their enhanced strategy. While it would not be prudent to go into detail about the additional safety measures begin taken by either the Atlanta Police Department or our own Georgia Tech Police Department, the APD has committed to the initiation of strategic roadblocks in Midtown, Centennial Place and Home Park, as well as increasing foot patrols in the neighborhoods that have experienced an increase in crime. The city will also begin tighter enforcement and control at nearby clubs and bars, and is utilizing technology such as automatic tag readers to quickly retrieve license tag information when looking for suspects and vehicles.
While there is no evidence to suggest that students are specifically being targeted, there is a clear profile. Individuals walking alone at night are at significantly higher risk than those who practice basic awareness and prevention techniques. We continue to advise our community to take every precaution possible to avoid placing yourself at unnecessary risks.
Because we are an open campus operating in an urban environment, we will continue to support vigilant campus safety programs. Our Georgia Tech Police Department includes more than 70 sworn police officers, operating 24-hour patrols on foot, motorcycle, bicycle, car and Segway. We have K-9 patrols and five duty stations staffed by officers, 190 “blue light” outdoor emergency phones located throughout campus and security cameras. In light of recent events, we have expanded the assignments and duty time of some of our public safety officers.
I want to close by again assuring you that we have the full support of the Atlanta Police Department and are working closely and collaboratively with the City of Atlanta. I am confident that these new measures, along with the cooperation of our university community, will improve safety in the neighborhoods surrounding Georgia Tech.
G. P. "Bud" Peterson