The Jan. 30 town hall on safety and security informed East Baltimore campus faculty and staff members about Johns Hopkins’ efforts to address increased crime in the city, including a proposal to create a campus police force. The proposal requires approval by the Maryland General Assembly. With a high increase in aggravated assaults across all of Johns Hopkins’ Baltimore campuses from 2014 to 2017, a panel of leaders spoke, answered questions and outlined various strategies. Here are five takeaways:
1. Police force benefits
Currently, Johns Hopkins Corporate Security officers report suspicious or criminal activity to an off-duty Baltimore City police officer who is stationed at the hospital. This process results in critical time delays, according to Melissa Hyatt, vice president for security. With a police department serving the Homewood, East Baltimore and Peabody campuses—similar to the police forces at the University of Maryland, Baltimore; Morgan State University and Coppin State University—more swift action can be taken against criminal activities.
2. Other solutions
“A police force is only part of the portfolio of solutions that we need to invest in,” said Dean/CEO Paul B. Rothman. In 2017, Johns Hopkins invested $205 million in Baltimore City and continues to provide support by prioritizing local hiring and spending in the neighboring communities. Johns Hopkins will also continue partnering with programs such as Turnaround Tuesday, which helped find jobs and develop skills for over 400 people who were formerly incarcerated. “We have to make sure we’re doing our part as an anchor institution to lift the socioeconomic status of our community,” said Redonda G. Miller, president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
3. Dialogue with the community
Johns Hopkins leaders have held several forums for residents and walked the streets, meeting with numerous neighborhood leaders and community associations to listen to their goals and concerns. Jeanne Hitchcock, special adviser for government, community and corporate affairs, noted that the dialogue was useful to understand the community’s reservations and to help everyone work together to provide a secure environment. “We’re going to continue to meet with our community people, have dialogue and take feedback,” Hitchcock said.
4. Improved security operations
Improving security overall is a high priority. Hyatt noted that the focus has been on crisis scenario training, performance and customer service. Johns Hopkins has also restricted access to certain areas, increased screening of visitors, expanded security technology, and adjusted shuttle schedules to accommodate employees who work late hours.
5. Your voice
If you have any questions or feedback, please visit the Public Safety Initiatives website at publicsafetyinitiatives.jhu.edu.