April 13, 2012

2012 Spring Safety Update

To: The Campus Community
From: Marlon Lynch, Associate Vice President for Safety and Security and Chief of Police
Date: April 13, 2012

I am writing to update you on some of our ongoing efforts to improve safety on campus and in our surrounding communities.

Violent crime in the Hyde Park-South Kenwood community is down significantly from last year, decreasing 37 percent for the comparable period, and has declined 45 percent when compared to the five-year average for this period. This is a very encouraging trend, but it is important to remember that Spring typically brings an increase in crime, not just on this campus, but around the city. Already this year, the City of Chicago has seen an increase in gang-related violence; most directed at other gang members, but another reason for us all to be vigilant.

On and around campus, we continue to increase the presence of security guards and police foot patrols – we now have security officers around campus with many of them operating 24 hours a day. They can be identified by their dark navy blue jackets with "University of Chicago Security" on the back of the jacket, light blue shirts with "University of Chicago Security" shoulder patch, and a badge on their left breast pocket.

We also continue to improve our use of technology, including the emergency phones that allow you to summon help immediately, and security cameras in locations across campus that help police respond quickly and address crime trends.

At the same time, we urge you to take a few familiar steps that make a big difference:

  • When walking around campus and in the neighborhood, walk in groups and stay alert, especially at night
  • Avoid using cell phones, iPods and headphones while walking, or displaying items that might be attractive to a criminal
  • Use public transportation: free bus service, SafeRide and umbrella service are available to help you travel safely around the campus community

As you will recall, last fall we tested the cAlert emergency notification system, which allows us to contact each of you by email, cell phone call, desk phone call and text message in case of life-threatening situation on campus. We expect to schedule another test this Spring; please watch for more information about this process. In the meantime, to insure that we have the most up-to-date and effective contact information to reach you in an emergency, please go to calert.uchicago.edu to verify the information we have on file for you.

We continue to be dedicated to maintaining a safe and secure campus environment, and we appreciate your help in our efforts to further reduce crime in our community. If you have specific concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I wish you a safe and productive Spring.