"It was clear that parents would not send their children to a place that was not safe," said Rush, who came to the university from the Philadelphia Police Department in 1994, shortly before Alimohamed was beaten and then fatally shot by a group of teenagers in a $5 robbery.
The university immediately hired an additional 19 police officers. Today, the campus police force has 100 officers who patrol a 270-acre area that includes the university as well as private buildings. They have arrest powers and are among four university police forces in Pennsylvania authorized to carry guns.
Included are 13 detectives who defer to city police in investigations of homicides, sex crimes and civil disorders, but take the lead in investigating all other crimes on and around campus.
The work of the campus police is augmented by more than 300 private security guards, who patrol on and off campus, Rush said. The university spends $14 million a year on security.
In addition, Penn has invested $10 million in security technology over the years. The key is the PennComm command center in the basement of the five-year-old division of public safety headquarters just west of 40th Street.
PennComm, which officials say receives more than 190,000 security-related calls a year, has its own emergency 511 number, computer-aided dispatch systems and the capacity to monitor calls to the Philadelphia Police Department in nearby areas. It also has closed-circuit television screens linked to 60 360-degree zoom cameras on the streets around campus.
The surveillance system was designed by the same company that Hopkins hired last spring to assess its security needs. Officials from Hopkins, which has 5,500 graduate and undergraduate students at its Homewood campus, have scheduled a visit to Penn because of the similarity of the two schools' urban locations and to understand how the system works and "what needs to be done to install it effectively," said spokesman Dennis O'Shea.
In 2003, Penn was named a recipient of the Jeanne Clery Campus Safety Award, given annually by a nonprofit organization, for its surveillance system and community patrols. The award is named for a Lehigh University freshman who was raped and killed in her dorm room in the 1980s; a federal campus crime reporting act is also named for her.
Under then-President Judith Rodin, who left Penn in June after 10 years and will take over next month as head of the Rockefeller Foundation, the university launched a number of community revitalization efforts dubbed the "West Philadelphia Initiatives." The initiatives won an award from the Urban Land Institute, also in 2003.
Among them were the creation of the University City District, a benefits area that is a much larger version of the Charles Village Community Benefits District on the eastern edge of Hopkins' campus.
Penn and its health system provide about 40 percent of the $5.7 million annual operating budget of the district, according to Lori Brennan, the organization's senior director of marketing and communications. Its 33 unarmed security officers patrol as far west as 50th Street, seven blocks beyond where campus police patrols stop.
In contrast, the Charles Village benefits district, encompassing a much smaller area, has a budget of about $750,000, about half of which comes from a property tax surcharge. Hopkins, whose property is tax-exempt, contributes $85,000 a year to the benefits district.
As part of the initiatives, Penn also developed several vacant and underused university-owned parcels. They include the $90 million University Square hotel, retail and bookstore complex in the center of campus; a $19 million public elementary school a couple of blocks west of campus; and a $55 million 24-hour grocery store and six-screen movie theater at the western edge of campus. Hopkins has recently begun to follow suit, breaking ground on a $75 million retail-dormitory-bookstore complex across from the campus' main entrance at 33rd and Charles streets.
"Retail and quality of life were not niceties that we just added," said Omar Blaik, Penn's senior vice president for facilities and real estate services. "Retail was a public safety priority."
With the grocery store and movie theater in particular, which are on both sides of Walnut Street, the main street that runs through campus, at 40th Street, he said: "We created a much safer environment through bringing people in."
Blaik bought a house in West Philadelphia in 1998 not far from where Sled was killed, one of 400 employees to take advantage of a university program to provide up to $15,000 each toward the purchase of a home in West Philadelphia.
Back then, he said, crime was a "validation of how bad things are."
"Today, when those things happen, they are a validation of the exception to this theory," he said.