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Ohio State News Alert: External report offers praise, recommendations to improve University District safety

Consultant reviewed strategies, data and resources

The Ohio State University has shared the results of an external review of its expanded approach to off-campus safety, President Kristina M. Johnson said today in a new Health, Safety and Well-being Update video. 

In September 2021, Johnson directed the university’s public safety team to engage an external safety expert to examine the effectiveness of its expanded approach to off-campus safety in partnership with the city of Columbus. Security Risk Management Consultants (SRMC) evaluated and reviewed the effectiveness of strategies, plans, programs, resources, tools and tactics utilized by both the university and the city of Columbus to enhance safety and overall perceptions in the off-campus neighborhoods. 

The consultant reviewed crime data and jurisdictional agreements, performed on-site examinations, and conducted interviews with both university and city stakeholders, including students and parents. SRMC looked at benchmarking with peer institutions and contacted subject matter experts.

The report from SRMC is complimentary of the enhancements made so far by the university. These included lighting, cameras, increased patrols, free safety devices and more.

It also made recommendations on how the university can work with community partners to further enhance provided services and technology, staffing and strategies, and outreach and education engagement efforts.

Many of the recommendations made are already in progress or completed, such as installing permanent lighting and evaluating how the university shares off-campus crime information.

“My thanks go to everyone who contributed to the report, including our students and parents who provided input,” Johnson said in the video.

You can see all the recommendations here.

Johnson reiterated that safety includes a focus on mental health, and that the Office of Student Life offers a variety of mental health tools. This includes Wellness Coaching from the Student Wellness Center, which offers support in areas like stress management, balancing relationships, navigating transitions and more.

Lastly, Johnson reminded students, faculty and staff to sign up for the Buckeye Booster Drawing, where so far 200 Buckeyes who have received their COVID-19 booster shots have already earned $100 gift cards. Register by this Sunday, Feb. 27, to be eligible for next week’s drawing.

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