September 21, 2021

Autumn Safety message from Eric Heath, Associate Vice President for Safety & Security

With the Autumn Quarter soon underway, I would like to share some important tips as well as several new resources that the Department of Safety and Security (DSS) has implemented to help you stay safe this quarter and throughout the year.

There are many steps you can take to enhance your safety and security both on and off campus. Provost Ka Yee C. Lee and I recently sent a message to the University community with information on many of these steps, and today’s message provides a further update. I encourage you to visit the Department of Safety & Security website for regular updates and additional resources.

This Autumn Quarter, the University is implementing the following new safety resources:

  • Community Safety Ambassadors: DSS has begun expanding our Campus Safety Ambassador program within the University of Chicago Police Department’s (UCPD) extended patrol area. Like our campus safety ambassadors, our new community safety ambassadors are trained, uniformed security officers who patrol certain residential and business areas in the communities UCPD serves. Some will patrol on foot, and others will monitor patrol areas using white hybrid safety and security cars. The community safety ambassadors act as safety points of contact, can contact police immediately to report a crime or when someone needs help, and can provide safety escorts to community members. We encourage you to greet and become familiar with the safety ambassadors where you live or at places that you visit. Anyone can request a safety escort on or off-campus within UCPD’s patrol area by calling 773-702-8181.
  • UGo Shuttle: Having reliable transportation options is an important part of staying safe. DSS recently launched a new UGo shuttle route that connects University community members from campus to several locations along Garfield Avenue, including CTA stations and the University of Chicago’s Arts Block. You can find current information about bus and shuttle availability on the TransLoc transit tracking app or the UChicago Safe app.  For the latest transportation information, including details on the new Red Line/Arts Block Route, visit transportation.uchicago.edu.
  • Lyft Ride Smart: DSS has expanded our partnership with Lyft to provide students with alternative transportation options during evening and late night hours. The Lyft Ride Smart at UChicago program allows students to take up to 10 free Lyft rides each month anywhere in the current UGo NightRide Shuttle service area on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings and late nights during the academic year. Students will receive an email next week with additional program details and sign up instructions.
  • Residential Safety Assessments: For members of the University community and our neighbors who live off campus within the UCPD’s patrol area, UCPD is now offering free Residential Safety Assessments. Upon request, a trained member of UCPD will meet the owner/renter at their residence, conduct a comprehensive assessment of the residence, and provide a report with recommended security enhancements, if needed. Visit the DSS website for more information about this service and to request a residential safety assessment.
  • Safety Webpage: The University recently launched a new safety webpage with an overview of the robust safety resources available to members of the University community as well as tips for staying safe in the city, around campus, where you live, and while using transportation. I encourage you to visit the site today.

In addition to the new and expanded resources listed above, below are important reminders about long-standing safety resources and emergency notifications.

  • UChicago Safe Mobile App: An important asset and resource to our community is the UChicago Safe mobile safety app. The app has numerous features including public safety contact information and the ability to send your location in real-time to a friend so they can keep track as you walk to your destination. I encourage you to download it to your Android or iPhone today, and explore its various functions.
  • cAlert System: In the event of an emergency, the University uses a system called cAlert to notify members of the campus community via text messages, emails, and automated calls to cell phones and landlines. These emergency notifications, required by federal legislation known as the Clery Act, provide essential information about the emergency and give you instructions on what to do to help keep yourself safe. To ensure that these important messages reach you, log onto calert.uchicago.edu and enter your contact information.
  • Security Alerts: Most crimes do not constitute a campus emergency necessitating the use of the cAlert system but may require a separate timely notification to the campus community. As required by the Clery Act, the University sends out an all-campus security alert email should a crime occur on or immediately adjacent to campus that represents a continuing threat. For additional opt-in notifications on off-campus crime and for more information about security alert guidelines, visit the DSS website.

If you have any questions or concerns about campus safety, I encourage you to contact our team. I wish you a safe and productive year.