Main campus intersections like Victoria and Gould Streets, and campus areas like Jorgenson Hall, continue to be hot spots for criminal activity, according to incident reports sent out by school security services.
A map on the The Ryersonian website plots the approximate location of about 90 incidents, including assaults, robberies and suspicious behaviour, that took place from September 2012 to December 2014. The information is based on notifications from the school’s Integrated Risk Management (IRM) department.
Russ Lauria, chief executive of ITC Security Consultants, says university administration should watch for patterns on campus and may want to enhance security presence where crime is frequent.
He says there are a few basic ways institutions can implement crime prevention. These include: adequate lighting, fencing to place a barrier between those who should and shouldn’t be on the property, and proper signage.
Types of signage include those that indicate where trespassing isn’t permitted, that 24-hour security is on-site, and signs saying the property is under surveillance.
The Ryersonian also found that 56 per cent of incidents on campus happen during class hours, between 8 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Eric Vaz, geography professor and director of the Centre for Geocomputation at Ryerson, says that perpetrators committing crimes on campus may live in the community surrounding Ryerson and know what times students are likely to be on campus.
Last February, Julia Lewis, IRM director, told The Ryersonian that conclusions from security incidents could only be based on a minimum of five years.
However, Lauria says there are no time requirements to see whether a pattern exists.
“Sometimes it can be as short as a few days or a week to determine a pattern,” he says. “Anything that seems to be repetitive and out of the ordinary can be a pattern that you should be looking at.”
Based on The Ryersonian map, it is clear security incidents cluster around Victoria and Gould Streets, says Vaz.
He says that intersections tend to be hot spots for criminal activity.
“Corners tend to amass more crime rates because they make for a quicker escape, and also, they are not too well lit,” he says.
But Claus Rinner, program director of the master of spatial analysis program at Ryerson, says clusters of incidents at major intersections might appear to exist because of the way security incidents are geocoded.
“If there are areas without landmarks, incidents may have been coded to the closest intersection, resulting in a cluster there,” he said.
Tanya Poppleton, manager of security and emergency services, said in an email that there are no specific areas on campus that the department frequents “more than others for any particular reason,” and that staff is dispatched accordingly when notified of an incident.
Currently, surveillance signage is placed at “some building entrances throughout campus,” for example, within the entrance of the Library Building, says Poppleton. She also says that security services is “developing signage for external locations.”
Ryerson sends students, faculty and staff emails containing information about certain security incidents that occur on or near campus, according to the IRM website. Notices are sent one to two business days after an incident occurs.