Continuing a trend of improved campus safety, which parents have consistently rated as one of their top areas of concern, DPS today announced that reported incidents are down 24.7 percent overall on school campuses, as compared to the first three months of last school year.
According to data compiled by the DPS Police Department on the district’s schools and buildings, reported incidents dropped from 456 to 343.
“Parents have consistently told me that their number one concern is school safety,” said DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin. “My promise to parents has been that we will do everything within our power to ensure that their children are safe and secure in our school buildings. These new stats are proof that DPS and its Police Department are living up to that promise. The safer students feel, the more likely they will be to achieve greater academic results.”
The percentage of reported serious incidents dropped in most categories, including weapon possession (down 25 percent from 4 incidents to 3 incident); miscellaneous assaults (down 21.6 percent from 60 incidents to 47 incidents); breaking and entering for open structures (down 31 percent from 16 to 11) and vacant structures (down 82.6 percent from 75 incidents to 13); threat reports (down 17.6 percent from 17 incidents to 14); and alleged sexual assaults (down 33 percent from 12 incidents to 8).
“Much of the decline in reported incidents can be attributed to a renewed culture of collaboration with the DPS police force, citizen patrollers, our academic departments, principals, students and our contracted security officers,” said Police Chief Stacy Brackens, who took the helm of the department in October 2014. “Working together, we can ensure that we are doing everything possible to make our schools as safe as possible.”
Brackens also cited:
- A renewed emphasis on customer service between the DPS police department and schools;
- Ongoing youth seminars on contemporary issues facing students, such as bullying, sexting, and life skills behaviors;
- Enhanced in-school relations between students and campus security officers, which has helped officers to pre-empt escalating issues;
- Joint training with principals and security officers to forge closer relationships; and
- Ongoing, targeted neighborhood patrols that are heavily populated by students.
DPS made the announcement of the decline in reported criminal activity on the same day the district is honoring its many citizen patrollers, who volunteer to keep children safer when traveling to and from school. While parents cite safety as a key concern, parent surveys also have shown that DPS parents feel students are much safer inside school than on their routes going to and from school.
Brackens thanked the safety patrol teams for their hard work and called for more volunteers to join the effort.
In October, the patrol program received a significant boost when AAA of Michigan announced a donation of $200,000 to Detroit Public Schools to keep students safe while traveling to and from school as part of a comprehensive Safe Routes to School strategy.
There is no minimum number of days required per week for citizen patrollers, but volunteers are asked to commit to at least one of the full-time slots. To volunteer, call (313) 240-4377.