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Charles Leone, executive director of Campus Safety Services, will step down from his role in April. Photo Credit: Will Colavito/Unsplash
Charles Leone, executive director of Campus Safety Services, will step down from his role in April. Photo Credit: Will Colavito/Unsplash

Temple University Safety Chief resigns amid surge of violence near campus

The university is trying to come up with ideas in order to keep its students safe.

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On Thursday, March 24, it was announced that Charles Leone, Temple University’s executive director of public safety, is resigning after a surge in lack of campus security and rising crime around its main campus in North Philadelphia.

Leone will officially step down on April 29. He has been with Temple University for 36 years.

Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Ken Kaiser wrote in a letter that Deputy Director Denise Wilhelm will assume the role of interim executive director. She has been a part of the Temple Police for 30 years.

“I came to Temple nearly 40 years ago as a student, and I loved this university so much that I never left,” Leone said in a statement. “It is bittersweet for me to leave now, but I know campus safety is in a much stronger position today, and this is the right time for me personally to step aside and enable a new leader to build the department’s strategy for the future.”

In response to Leone’s departure, the university, along with Mayor Jim Kenney and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, created a grant program for off campus landlords to receive up to $2,500 that can be used for installing cameras to improve security.

“For Temple’s part, we are considering all options to protect the safety of our students, faculty, staff and neighbors in North Philadelphia. We have to be willing to continually think outside the box, and that is what we have done here with this grant program,” said Kaiser.

This comes just months after an increase in violence that Temple University has been involved in.

On Friday, March 18, two teenage girls were both shot in front of the Barnes and Noble on Broad and Cecil B. Moore Streets. The alleged shooter was just 15 years old.

Although none of the people involved were actual students, this violent attack occurred less than a block away from Temple University.

Another horrific crime that occurred last November was the slaying of Samuel Collington who was shot and killed on November 28 during a carjacking in front of his apartment on Park Avenue and Susquehanna Street in broad daylight.

The attack caused an influx of students terrified to walk around their school’s streets.

Another careless act of violence occurred just a week before the death of Collington, when Ahmir Jones was shot and killed during a robbery. The robbers were trying to steal Jones’ girlfriend’s phone where he was shot in the chest.

Jones was only 18 years old and a senior at Pottstown High School.

The university has been heavy on trying to hire more police officers in an effort to ease the worries of students. The Philadelphia Police Department said that they will add some of its patrol team to help implement violence around campus.

Temple has begun discussions with residents to establish a neighborhood watch program for the areas around campus. 

The city in general has seen an influx of crime such as murder, robberies, and car jackings.

So far, 115 people have died due to gun violence this year.

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