The mother of a Temple University student decided to do more than put a bumper sticker on her car proclaiming his school of choice. She hired a private security firm to protect the Philadelphia neighborhood where he lives.
How’s that for refunding the police!
Jennifer Hedberg said she and her husband hired JNS Protection Services after “prayerful consideration” to add a layer of security to her son’s area for him and his fellow students. She expressed her frustration with prayer hand emojis and “needed to do some kind of action.”
Their bold steps come after a Temple senior, 21-year-old Samuel Sean Collington, was gunned down by a suspected robber as he unloaded his vehicle after returning from Thanksgiving break.
He was murdered in broad daylight and the incident was caught on video. The alleged killer, 17-year-old Latif Williams, had been charged with armed carjacking last summer. Still, the progressive Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner reportedly withdrew the case when the victim failed to appear.
Locals refer to the DA as “Let ‘Em Out Larry,” according to Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby.
Just days before Collington’s murder, 18-year-old Ahmir Jones, who was not a Temple student, was killed in a robbery near the university while walking with his girlfriend.
Campus police have implemented new safety measures and Hedberg insists she is not trying to step on their toes but that her family wants to assist with more protection for off-campus housing. Other parents have chipped in to fund the effort and patrols are now being conducted five days a week in the neighborhood.
In late February, Hedberg says her son called and told her about another armed robbery in the middle of the afternoon outside his residence and it was then she decided to act.
The Hedbergs are hardly wealthy parents taking a helicopter approach to their son’s collegiate life. She is a teacher and her husband is a field tech for T-Mobile. Jennifer Hedberg says that she will continue until her son’s graduation this spring and other parents help fund the operation.
Other parents have promised to step in and continue the effort. Local activists in Philadelphia, which set a record for homicides in 2021, generally praise the effort.
Temple University recently announced the formation of a task force to address violence reduction and introduced a one-touch personal safety mobile app for quick contact with campus police. University officials have also reportedly been in touch with JNS Protection about expanding their services around campus.