April 30, 2015

Chief Lynch’s Spring Safety Message

As we progress through this academic year, I would like to update you on some news and ongoing initiatives related to your safety on campus and throughout the greater Hyde Park area.  

Last year saw a 22 percent decrease in violent crime when compared with the previous five-year average throughout the University of Chicago Police Department’s (UCPD) patrol area. While this downward trend in violent crimes continues, spring often brings an increase in criminal activity on campus and throughout Chicago. Please be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. 

Enhancing transparency about UCPD activities can help maintain safety and foster trust in our communities. For the past several months we have been collaborating with University leadership, local government officials, members of the community, and our campus partners to determine ways to share information relating to UCPD activities. As a result, the UCPD will soon be providing the following information:

  • Additional background information related to current UCPD practices, including the statutes that serve as the legal basis for UCPD’s authority; department responsibilities; description of officer training; and information about how the UCPD operates in conjunction with the CPD.
  • Traffic stops and field contacts, outside of the aggregate information provided by IDOT, updated daily and including the date; time; location; reason for the stop; whether a search was conducted; disposition; and race and gender.
  • Arrest record information upon request, similar to the information provided by public law enforcement agencies, information about the arrestee (name, age, address, and photograph); arrest charges; time and location of the arrest; name of the investigating or arresting law enforcement agency; amount of bail or bond; and details on incarceration.
  • List of frequently asked questions and responses compiled from conversations with the University community and neighboring communities.

We will begin to implement these changes in June 2015, and the information will reside on the Department of Safety & Security’s website, http://safety-security.uchicago.edu/.

In an effort to further strengthen our community outreach efforts, seven police officers and one sergeant will be assigned to the UCPD’s Community Relations Unit. These redeployed officers will help us enhance our community partnerships while continuing to work on our crime prevention and risk reduction activities. The Community Relations Unit provides a variety of services, including safety presentations to anyone located with the UCPD’s patrol area. To schedule one of these free and informative presentations for your group, organization, or department, call 773.702.6008.

The University currently utilizes several methods to communicate about safety issues, including an online daily log of incidents handled by University police, emails from Safety and Security leadership like this one, cAlert messages that notify the campus community via phone, text message, and email in the event of a significant campus emergency, and security alerts that describe incidents reported to the UCPD which may represent a continuing threat to the campus community. For more information about the guidelines that we use to determine if an incident warrants a security alert, please visit http://safety-security.uchicago.edu/services/safety_alerts_communications/. Anyone not affiliated with the University may sign up to receive security alerts at http://lists.uchicago.edu/web/info/community-alerts/. To ensure the timely delivery of emergency notifications to the campus community, the University is upgrading to a new cAlert platform. Current University students, faculty, staff, and University of Chicago Medicine staff, will be automatically migrated to the new cAlert platform this summer. Please login to the cAlert website, calert.uchicago.edu, to make any necessary updates to your contact information so that you continue to receive these important messages via your preferred phone number or email address.

If you have any safety or security questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I wish you a safe and productive spring.