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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - USC officials today announced new security measures for the campus and the surrounding neighborhood, including the deployment of more security personnel, improvements in technology, and enhanced mandatory safety education for students.
The new safety measures were implemented following the beating death of a Chinese USC graduate student near the campus. Four people have been charged in the killing of Xinran Ji, 24, attacked about 12:45 a.m. July 24 near 29th Street and Orchard Avenue as he was walking home after participating in a study group.
According to USC, meetings have been held between the university, Chinese student leaders, parents and others to discuss their security concerns, and the new safety measures were taken to ``respond to that input.''
``At the beginning of the school year we will meet with additional student groups, because our entire university community is committed to creating a safe environment,'' said Elizabeth Garrett, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
``All of us must be actively involved,'' Garrett said. ``Safety is a shared responsibility -- it includes both practices and methods adopted by the university and precautions that our students, faculty and staff need to take with an awareness of their surroundings.''
The new security improvements include:
-- enhancing the deployment of neighborhood security ambassadors, and extending coverage year-round, including summers;
-- increasing dedicated nighttime USC Department of Public Safety and Los Angeles Police Department foot patrols and bicycle patrols in the University Park neighborhood;
-- upgrading the video analytics used in monitoring the university's closed-circuit video cameras in the neighborhood around the campus, and increasing the number of personnel monitoring the cameras around the clock;
-- expanding the service area of ``Campus Cruiser,'' the university's free car escorts, to the full USC patrol and response area and reducing the wait times to no more than 15 minutes. And
-- expediting the planned implementation of a free, mobile safety app that is focused on the USC campus community to allow students, faculty or staff to immediately contact the Department of Public Safety.
The university also changed its safety programming for new international students, with several onsite programs in China and new videos subtitled in Mandarin.
Also, beginning this fall, USC is mandating extended safety education for all incoming international graduate students, just as it has for incoming undergraduate students.
And the USC Department of Public Safety is forming an International Student Safety Advisory Group, creating an International Student Liaison Officer position and further expanding its Neighborhood Watch Program.
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