October 02, 2013

2013 Fall Safety Update

To: The Campus Community
From: Marlon C. Lynch, Associate Vice President for Safety & Security
Subject: Fall Safety Update
Date: October 2, 2013

As the new year gets underway, I would like to take this opportunity to address safety on and around campus, share some of the ways in which we are working to help you stay safe, and provide a few steps you can take as well.

For those of you who are new to the Hyde Park community, it is important to remember that Chicago is a large, complex urban environment. The Hyde Park area continues to have one of the lowest rates of violent crime in Chicago, but as in any major city, we all need to use good common sense, be aware of our surroundings, and look out for one another.

In addition to our foot and vehicle patrols, and security guards placed at locations around campus, the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) is reintroducing a bike patrol this fall. We believe the bike patrol will help us better engage with the community, increase our visibility, and travel in areas where cars cannot go. 

This year, we will be undertaking a broad survey to assess our own performance and use as benchmark for comparison with our peers. Your feedback about our quality of service is crucial to our ability to enhance our community safety strategies. We encourage you to take part in this short survey.

Transportation is another key way that we work to increase safety on and around campus. In August, the CTA route 192 southbound morning rush period bus began making an additional stop at 53rd Street and Lake Park Avenue, before continuing to 59th Street and Kimbark Avenue. Another stop has been added at the end of the route at Cottage Grove Avenue and 57th Street, for both the morning and evening rush periods.

The University is also piloting a new 53rd Street Express Shuttle. This shuttle will operate from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday and is free of charge to all University students, faculty, other academic personnel, staff, and University of Chicago Medicine staff. The shuttle is expected to begin in early November to coincide with the opening of the Harper Court office building. For the most up-to-date information about the 53rd Street Express Shuttle, as well as other transportation options, visit the Safety & Security website.

Finally, a few words on how we communicate about safety issues: For life-threatening emergencies, the University uses a system called cAlert, which warns every member of the campus community with automated calls to desk and cell phones, text messages, emails, and pager alerts. To ensure that these critical messages reach you, please log onto calert.uchicago.edu to check the accuracy of your information on file and enroll the devices most likely to reach you.

For crimes that present a specific threat but do not require immediate action, the University sends out an all-campus email known as a security alert. Learn about the guidelines established for security alerts by a presidential committee.

To track crime and police activity throughout the UCPD patrol area, a full log is posted each day. You can also subscribe to receive the log through an RSS feed and check crime statistics for our area. Please take a few moments to see more resources and important safety tips.

I welcome your comments, and wish you a safe and productive year.