Off Campus Safety Summary - updated September 2023
Major crimes in 2023 were down significantly from the prior fiscal year: More than 30% off campus in the University District and 25% on campus.
In fall 2021, Ohio State announced an additional investment of $2 million, per year, over the next decade to enhance safety and security on and around campus.
The additional investment is expected to be at least $20 million, and the total safety and security budget for the university and medical center will grow to nearly $35 million annually.
These efforts go hand-in-hand with our previous, and ongoing, work to add increased police patrols and expand safety education.
The university and city of Columbus continue to work closely to address crime and safety in the off-campus University District, where the Columbus Division of Police (CPD) has jurisdiction.
Strategies to combat crime have included an increased police presence, including both CPD and the Ohio State University Police Department (OSUPD) officers.
In September 2023, the university announced plans to significantly expand the crime interdiction program, working with the city to increase evening and nighttime off-campus CPD patrols during fall and spring semesters.
OSUPD has budgeted for up to three full-time officers to partner with Columbus police in the University District, which gives the initiative enhanced support.
We have added police patrols through a seasonal program called crime interdiction paying OSUPD and CPD overtime.
In addition, non-sworn security patrols have been added and increased in the neighborhood, including Buckeye Block Watch (foot and vehicle patrols) and additional third-party security patrols.
The university has hired nine OSUPD officers since January 2022, and has an authorized strength of 70 sworn police officers.
Police are not the only solution and Ohio State has taken a comprehensive approach that also includes additional lighting and surveillance cameras.
Twenty mobile lights were placed in the University District in fall 2021, and all have since been transitioned to permanent light fixture upgrades.
Mobile camera units supplement fixed surveillance in the area.
More than 60 license plate readers have been installed in the University District in partnership with the city of Columbus. These devices assist law enforcement with investigations.
Cameras have been added to all parking garages.
The university has extended the service areas, and hours, of our discounted Lyft Ride Smart program.
A $4 discount is offered to students between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
On campus, the university also offers free Campus Area Bus Service and a program called CABS On-Demand, which runs from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. nightly and provides free transportation between campus buildings after 9 p.m. The university recently added two stops on the east side of High Street, at University Square and South Campus Gateway.
Ohio State will continue to send Buckeye Alerts and Public Safety Notices for incidents occurring on campus, in conjunction with federal law.
Community Crime Map
The university launched a customized Community Crime Map that consists of statistics from the Columbus Division of Police and shows off-campus crime reports.
This tool offers users access to more crime information, presented in a visual map-based format our that students have requested.
Ohio State has pre-programmed the map to a one-mile radius, to include three major crime reports from the most recent seven-day period.
Additional features available include the ability to:
Turn on additional crime categories
Access months or years of data
See heat maps and trends including crimes by time of day
Sign up for crime alerts (daily, weekly or monthly)
Enter your own, personal home address to set up tailored alerts
OSUPD is aware of Citizen App, a third-party app supplying “real-time” information as reported by onlookers.
We caution that not all third-party apps are fact-checked, and rumors or misinformation can spread quickly.
Many apps base their alerts on very preliminary information about a potential incident and that information may turn out to be inaccurate.
While real-time apps can help bring awareness to possible ongoing issues, community members should always verify information through official channels like the OSUPD or CPD daily crime logs where each agency posts all reported crimes.
In September 2021, Ohio State 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.
The external review of the university’s expanded approach to off-campus safety praised the progress made to date and offered additional enhancements for the university and city of Columbus to consider.
“The off-campus safety measures Ohio State has implemented have been impactful and equal to, or greater than, its peers,” said Paul Denton, an external safety expert from Security Risk Management Consultants (SRMC).
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.
More information, including about recommendations that have already been implemented is available here.