Campus Safety Initiatives at Tech
The safety and security of Georgia Tech students, faculty, and staff is among the Institute’s top priorities.
Because Georgia Tech is an open urban campus with many students living in surrounding neighborhoods, Georgia Tech takes a proactive stance when notifying the campus community about safety concerns. For instance, while the Clery Act requires universities to alert campus communities to incidents occurring on campus, Georgia Tech goes beyond that to include areas adjacent to campus – a practice not conducted at many other universities.
Over the past four years, nearly two-thirds of the incidents that necessitated Clery Alerts occurred between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Also, during this same period, nearly two-thirds of the incidents that were broadcast as Clery Alerts occurred off campus.
A concerted effort toward constantly improving security has led to deeper collaboration with neighboring law enforcement agencies, as well as increased undercover patrols and technology-based solutions. This focus on constant improvement has contributed to lower crime rates on and around campus over the past few years. While on-campus crime statistics for Georgia Tech are comparable with – and many times significantly lower than – other area universities, Georgia Tech remains committed to ongoing improvement. Crime prevention is about people, not statistics, and any incident is one too many.
The following initiatives are in place to address current concerns, as well as enhance the safety and security of Georgia Tech’s campus community.
- The Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) has opened a new operations center featuring state-of-the-art video camera technology to assist first responders and investigators, and to help protect the campus community.
- More than 1,000 security cameras and 500 emergency phones are posted throughout campus.
- A phased approach is underway to continue enhancing safety camera coverage for the campus.
- GTPD has more than 80 sworn officers. At all times, 10-12 officers – including plainclothes officers – are actively patrolling campus by foot, motorcycle, bicycle, car, Segway, and K-9 patrols.
- GTPD recently joined the ranks of a select group of 59 college and university police departments in the country that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
- Rave Guardian, a free safety app, transforms mobile phones into personal GPS-enabled alarm beacons. Participants can voluntarily opt-in and share critical information, which will help expedite police response in an emergency. To download Rave Guardian, visit www.guardian.gatech.edu, or search for “Rave Guardian” in the app store.
- A shared law enforcement vehicle for GTPD, Atlanta Police Department (APD), and Midtown Alliance facilitates joint patrols of the Georgia Tech, Home Park, and Atlantic Station areas. SkyCop, a mobile surveillance system, strategically monitors locations around campus. Georgia Tech now has two of these mobile systems.
- Ongoing promotion of the “See Something? Say Something!” campaign encourages everyone to take an active role in the well-being of the campus community and to report dangerous or suspicious activity. The campaign continues to produce results – both with catching criminals before they act and arresting those who have committed a crime.
- Availability of the Midnight Rambler, which provides transportation from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., has been expanded to seven days a week.
- The automated Stingerette system makes transportation requests possible from laptops or smartphones. The Stingerette nighttime shuttle is available from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.
- Through the GTPD dispatch line (404.894.2500), students can request GTPD evening escorts.
- GTPD has equipped three patrol vehicles with license plate readers that can alert police to stolen or unregistered vehicles to help with the pursuit and apprehension of unwanted individuals who enter campus.
- Georgia Tech’s annual Campus Safety Week includes GTPD safety workshops, exhibits, APD officers and equine patrol, K-9 demos, and police ride-along opportunities for local media.
- The Department of Housing takes proactive steps to ensure the safety and security of campus residents including keeping external doors locked 24/7, requiring BuzzCard access for all single campus housing, providing more than 200 safety-related programs for residents, and facilitating ongoing patrol of housing areas by the GTPD.
- To protect pedestrians crossing North Avenue, Georgia Tech worked with the Georgia Department of Transportation to install a high-intensity activated crosswalk (HAWK) pedestrian crossing beacon.
- Monthly public safety meetings have been initiated with area higher education colleagues, including representatives from APD, Midtown Blue, Atlanta Ambassador Force, and the Fulton County Prosecutor’s Office to share concerns, solutions, and best practices.
- Georgia Tech is working with the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office on its repeat offender action plan while also providing information about repeat offenders to frontline Georgia Tech employees, including those in areas such as facilities and transportation.
- Leadership demonstrates hands-on safety involvement including participation in police ride-alongs by the president and other administrators and in the annual student-led Safety Walk, which is designed to identify safety concerns and issues.
- College police departments in the metro-Atlanta area maintain close contact with one another, routinely sharing information on crime patterns, as well as alerting one another to repeat offenders who have returned to campus.
- Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson is serving as co-chair of a University System of Georgia-wide Task Force on Campus Safety and Security. The group will address safety issues and how campuses can enhance efforts across the state. Meetings are underway, and recommendations will be made to the Board of Regents in May 2015.
The cooperation of the entire Georgia Tech community, combined with partnerships among public safety organizations, other universities, businesses, and the surrounding community, remains key to creating and maintaining a safe campus community.
For more information, visit www.police.gatech.edu.
For Georgia Tech campus safety data, visit www.police.gatech.edu/crimeinfo.
For U.S. Department of Education campus safety data, visit http://ope.ed.gov/security.
See Something? Say Something! Call 404.894.2500.