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Campus Safety to Be Improved

To enhance campus safety, MIT will double its Safe Ride fleet to four vans, improve lighting at certain locations and add several outdoor emergency telephones, Campus Police Chief Anne P. Glavin has announced.

The two additional vehicles are expected to cut the Safe Ride waiting time to approximately 15 minutes, about half the longest wait now reported, she said.

These actions, and several others detailed by Chief Glavin, follow a broad review of campus safety considerations and security procedures undertaken following the September 18 murder of an MIT student on Memorial Drive near the library.

The changes, recommended by Chief Glavin and by a number of ad hoc committees and review groups formed after the murder, were approved by Senior Vice President William R. Dickson. The Institute Committee on Safety, which he chairs, also endorsed the recommendations.

Chief Glavin has set December 1 as a target date for the enlarged Safe Ride program, but whether that date can be met, she said, depends on how quickly dealers can deliver the new handicapped-accessible vans and the radio equipment each will carry. In addition, six new drivers must be hired to operate the vans.

Stephen D. Immerman, director of special services in the Office of the Senior Vice President, chaired the ad hoc committee that examined the Safe Ride program. Others who served on the ad hoc committee were Lawrence E. MaGuire, director of housing and food service, the section that funded a major portion of the original Safe Ride program; James R. Tewhey, who heads the Residence and Campus Activities Section in the Undergraduate Affairs Office; and students from Project Awareness, a liaison group between the Undergraduate Affairs Office and the Campus Police Department.

The lighting improvements will be made in several areas, including at several of the stops made by the Safe Ride vans.

Other areas recommended for improved lighting by the ad hoc committee are Memorial Drive and certain areas of East Campus.

The additional lights along Memorial Drive will be placed near the sidewalk, either on MIT property or on Metropolitan District Commission property, depending on the outcome of negotiations with the MDC, the agency responsible for Memorial Drive. The negotiations involve MIT access to unused MDC electrical conduit already buried along Memorial Drive. The conduit has been unused since the MDC moved its street lighting to the center island to provide better lighting on the road surface.

Chief Glavin said another ad hoc committee recommended adding to the 19 emergency phone locations by installing 7 more telephones along Memorial Drive between E52 at the east end of the campus and W91 at the west end.

"These will be outside locations, close to the sidewalks," Chief Glavin said, "so in an emergency one need not run to a building to reach a phone."

The chief also said she has altered Campus Police patrol patterns to provide more coverage and visibility at the perimeter of the campus. Chief Glavin said she is also in discussions with the Cambridge Police Commissioner to develop a cooperative "team policing" patrol plan.

In addition, the chief said, she and Mr. Dickson are reviewing the overall mission and operation of the Campus Police Department to ensure that it is appropriately staffed.

Chief Glavin also reported that the department's Crime Prevention Unit, headed by Sgt. Cheryl Vossmer, has intensified its personal safety program and has visited about three-quarters of the MIT living units since the September 18 incident. Members of the unit are also visiting fraternities, academic departments, labs, and centers.

Still being reviewed is the building lock-up schedule, the chief said. The often 24-hour nature of study and research at MIT are being taken into consideration.

A version of this article appeared in the November 4, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 12).

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