COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State University announced new safety measures Thursday to address crime near campus.
Officials with the university said they plan to work with the city of Columbus to increase off-campus police patrols during fall and spring semesters.
“The health and safety of our university community is our top priority,” Acting President Peter Mohler said. “We will continue to evaluate ways to improve our approach to safety on campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods. These new measures reflect that commitment.”
According to a release issued by the university, the expanded police patrols will provide additional visibility throughout the University District. The university said the locations will be adjusted based on neighborhood needs.
The new safety measures come after a 77-year-old woman was fatally stabbed over the weekend and nearly a month after Ohio State wrestler Sammy Sasso was shot during a carjacking. Both incidents were near campus.
In addition to the Columbus Division of Police's expanded off-campus police patrols, the university authorized:
- The Ohio State University Police Division (OSUPD) to hire five additional police officers to create a total force of 75 officers. Two of the positions will support ongoing CPD and OSUPD joint patrols in the University District, and the city has committed resources for these additional joint patrols.
- The purchase of additional mobile surveillance cameras.
- Continued support for the license plate reader program and video storage.
- Renewal of Buckeye Block Watch, offering foot patrols in targeted University District areas. The program features non-police security teams who are taught how to deal with difficult situations and learn best practices for public engagement, including mental health responses, first aid and CPR.
- Campus Area Bus Service (CABS) On-Demand, which provides free transportation between campus buildings after 9 p.m., to add two stops on the east side of High Street, at University Square and South Campus Gateway.
“We are committed to working with our city partners, and we talk daily about crime and crime trends,” said Monica Moll, Ohio State’s director of public safety. “We are confident these increased resources will help Ohio State and our community partners make an impact in our effort to improve safety and security in the campus area.
The university said previous safety enhancements implemented over the last two years have led to a decrease in crime both on and off campus. Those measures include:
- Additional lighting and cameras installed and used in combination with extra police and security patrols.
- Added surveillance cameras at all campus parking garages. The university says it has more than 4,000 surveillance cameras on campus.
- Additional fixed cameras installed and mobile cameras deployed off campus.
- Sixty-three license plate reader cameras with coverage both on and off campus.