A local consulting group conducted a review of Ohio State’s approach to off-campus safety, releasing a report with additional safety recommendations made to the university and city of Columbus.
The assessment by Security Risk Management Consultants released Thursday found the university’s safety response is on par with or exceeds that of its peers. The report was released amid ongoing concerns about safety in the campus area, including a series of robberies and recent car break-ins within Ohio State garages.
Ohio State paid SRMC $65,000 to review the university’s safety preparedness. The funding comes from the university’s annual $2 million investment into campus safety over the next ten years, university spokesperson Dan Hedman said.
President Kristina M. Johnson said in a universitywide email Thursday that she is grateful for the report, which in part surveyed university and city stakeholders about their perceptions of crime in the area.
“My thanks go to everyone who contributed to the report, including our students and parents who provided input,” Johnson said.
According to the report, in the seven weeks prior to the implementation of the university’s safety plan Aug. 27, 2021, 25 robberies and 8 assaults were reported in the University District. In the seven weeks following implementation, the reports decreased to 12 robberies and 7 assaults.
In the report, SRMC commended the university’s ability to act in “crisis mode” situations, acting swiftly to address off-campus crime spikes.
The report made further recommendations to the university’s safety response including implementing permanent lighting and fixed cameras, rigorous testing of safety resources, finding a more data-driven approach toward addressing crime and continuing to work collaboratively with the city of Columbus, according to the report.
Johnson said the university is already working on these recommendations, including installing new lighting off campus and improving how the university communicates information about crime. Ohio State’s release, which accompanied the report, stated the university is looking to replace current neighborhood safety notices with a “comprehensive method” of sharing crime information with the community.
The external review does not suggest that no safety risk exists on or off campus, according to the report. Rather, the report serves as a “road map” for improving safety by raising awareness of both the strengths and weaknesses in the university’s approach to safety.