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RU-N and RBHS Announce Joint Initiative to Enhance Campus Safety

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Chancellor Nancy Cantor of Rutgers University - Newark (RU-N) and Chancellor Brian Strom of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) have jointly announced a new initiative to enhance the safety of their students, faculty, and staff.

Effective immediately, the joint office of the Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD) Newark Division that serves both RU-N and RBHS is expanding coverage areas for issuing notice of serious crimes affecting the two campus communities. In addition to following the Clery Act notification requirements established by the U.S. Department of Education, RUPD Newark now also will issue timely notice to the campus community of serious crimes that occur in areas not within the campus boundaries, but frequented by students, faculty, and staff.  Examples would include mass transit hubs, which are key portals for the large number of daily commuters to RU-N and RBHS. This enhanced notice strategy is consistent with expanded procedures announced by President Robert Barchi for Rutgers University - New Brunswick.

"The safety record of our campuses is founded on collaboration, communication, and awareness building," says Chancellor Cantor. "Expanding the sphere of our safety notices is designed to increase the safety and security of our campus populations even further by increasing all three of those elements."

Chancellor Strom points to the recently restructured RUPD that combines the forces of RU-N and RBHS as an additional advantage. "Our new joint public safety staff has enhanced our ability to deploy safety personnel strategically for crime prevention and swiftly when problems do occur."

The reorganization of the previously separate RU-N and RBHS public safety units into RUPD Newark was announced in February 2014. It included the following key elements.

  • Immediate hiring of police and security personnel and the transfer of more personnel to street duties
  • An increased visibility of uniformed police and security officers
  • More active involvement of police personnel in proactive duties such as crime prevention and community problem solving
  • Better coordination of police resources to investigate crimes on the Newark campuses
  • An organizational structure (chain of command/unity of command) that will provide clear lines of responsibility for safety and security of the campus community while providing the RU-Newark with access to more resources when needed
  • Greater access, more accountability and better reporting to improve coordination of police, security, emergency management and other public safety resources provided by RU, neighboring campuses and local mutual aid partners
  • Enhancements of technological support that will provide needed safety improvements through a state of the art E911 and radio communication systems, utilization of global positioning systems (GPS), more security cameras and a computerized records management system that will provide immediate information to address crime though early intervention, crime prevention and proven target hardening practices.

The reorganization also entails expanding capacity in the long term. RU-N and RBHS have engaged the services of several of the nation’s most noted law enforcement specialists. School of Criminal Justice professors Les Kennedy and Joel Caplan, who have received international recognition for their work on mapping-based strategies of crime prevention, spent the fall 2013 semester studying crime and safety in University Heights, the neighborhood shared by both campuses. Kennedy and Caplan will provide the campuses’ leadership with a report and recommendations at the end of this year. Further, the Rutgers University Police Institute, housed at RU-N, has engaged the services of a team of specialists to identify strategies for greater integration between the RUPD Newark and the existing police services for NJIT and Essex County College.

RU-N Provost Todd Clear, an internationally renowned expert in criminal justice himself, oversaw implementation of the RUPD Newark reorganization in collaboration with Chancellors Cantor and Strom and Rutgers University Vice President for Administration and Public Safety Jay Kohl. Provost Clear sees in the reorganization and related research initiatives a reflection of the importance that Rutgers places on safety. “Through coordinated action made possible by the creation of RUPD Newark and by implementing best practices that draw on the latest research, we are strengthening public safety on our campuses and beyond. This reflects the deep commitment we have to the safety and security of the people who live and work at RU-N and RBHS, as well as in the neighborhood we call home.”

Further information about the RUPD Newark Division and the comprehensive array of public safety strategies and programs now in place at RU-N and RBHS may be found at http://publicsafety.rutgers.edu/rupd/newark.html.