September 24, 2008

New Safety Resources

To: Faculty, Staff, Students, and Community Members
From: Chief Rudy Nimocks, University of Chicago Police Department
Date: September 24, 2008

I am writing to introduce you to our new Community Safety website and to update you on other safety resources, including a pilot shuttle service and new public safety staffing, being put into place for this fall.

Safety Communications

The Community Safety website now includes extensive new information about crimes and other incidents reported to the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD). It also includes links to aggregate crime data and trends, as well as safety resources and prevention tips. This website was revised upon the recommendations of two separate committees, made up of faculty, staff, students, and community members, who encouraged us to change the way we issue security alerts.

Our safety notification system is designed to get members of the University and surrounding community to take preventive actions to protect their safety or reduce the likelihood that they will become the victim of a crime. The new system includes three tiers of notification, based upon the seriousness of the particular incident.

All crime reported to UCPD will now be logged each business day onto the Community Safety website, which is available to the public.

For extremely serious incidents of crime—those in which a community threat is perceived—an e-mail alert will be sent as soon as possible after the reported incident to all University students, staff and faculty, as well as to community members who have registered for the alerts.

If you are not a member of the University community and wish to sign up for the e-mail alerts, please follow these instructions:

  1. Go to the Community Alerts sign-up page.
  2. Select “subscribe” from the left-hand menu, and click “OK” when the pop-up window comes up.
  3. Enter your e-mail address in the box.
  4. A message will be sent to your e-mail account that includes a password. Enter that password into the box as requested, and click the “subscribe” button.
  5. You will then be logged in and will see “community-alerts” in the “Your Lists” area on the left side of the page.

In the event of a significant emergency or natural disaster—one which requires you to take immediate action to protect your health and safety—a message will be broadcast within minutes via cAlert to all registered individuals via home phone, cell phone, text message, and e-mail. As incidents at other universities have made clear, it is very important that we be able to reach you quickly in the event of an emergency or serious threat. If you are not currently registered for cAlert, I strongly encourage you to do so by visiting

Public Safety Coordinators

Beginning in August, regular UCPD patrols were supplemented with unarmed security personnel. These Public Safety Coordinators are patrolling campus areas by bicycle and on foot. These highly visible safety officers will be able to provide personal assistance as escorts, to help direct visitors and respond to questions, and to assist with building access and security after normal business hours. They also are equipped with UCPD radios and are in direct contact with UCPD Dispatch.

The Public Safety Coordinators will be on duty Monday through Friday, 7 am–10 pm, covering the times of greatest pedestrian traffic. To distinguish them from regular UCPD officers, they will wear a uniform consisting of a maroon shirt with a University Public Safety logo, blue pants, and a blue and maroon jacket in colder weather. On bicycle patrol they will have white helmets and on foot patrol they will wear blue caps with the public safety logo. When you are on campus, please take a moment to identify and greet these new members of our safety team.

Campus Shuttle Pilot

Beginning October 1, Transportation & Parking will launch a pilot for a new campus shuttle service. The new shuttle service is in addition to the existing evening bus service. It is the University’s intention to expand the shuttle service once the pilot phase is evaluated.

Initially, four buses will be deployed along two routes: one running north and south, counterclockwise via Ellis, 60th, Woodlawn, 59th, University and 55th; and one running east and west, clockwise via 57th, Stony Island, 60th, and Cottage Grove. The shuttles will operate 5 pm–midnight Sunday–Wednesday and 5 pm–6 am Thursday–Saturday. Shuttle stops will occur at least once every 12 minutes.

Shuttle rides will be free of charge. Members of the University community will be eligible to ride the shuttle by showing University identification. Non-University riders can ride the shuttle if they are accompanied by a passenger with a University ID. For more information, visit the Transportation & Parking website.

Creating a safe and secure community environment continues to be among our highest priorities. To that end, I am pleased to report that total violent crime activity in and around campus has declined steadily over the past few years. In Hyde Park-South Kenwood, violent crimes in the first eight months of this year are down about 18 percent from the same period last year and about 32 percent from 2004. In the broader UCPD coverage area (39th Street to 64th Street, Lake Shore Drive to Cottage Grove Avenue), violent crimes are down about 10 percent from last year and 19 percent from 2004. The Community Safety website contains more details about violent crime rates and crime trends in Hyde Park-South Kenwood and the UCPD coverage area.

We welcome your feedback about our safety initiatives. Questions or comments may be directed to