March 28, 2008
Report of the Campus Safety and Security Committee
March 21, 2008
In the aftermath of the tragic murder of Amadou Cisse on November 19, 2007, President Robert J. Zimmer appointed the Campus Safety and Security Committee and charged it “to conduct a careful examination and evaluation of the University’s policies, procedures, and initiatives in place to maximize personal safety and security on campus and in areas adjacent to the campus.” The committee met weekly throughout Winter Quarter 2008, and this report summarizes its findings and recommendations. The University is committed to safety and security. Efforts—including the important partnerships with City of Chicago officials, local elected officials, community leaders, and residents, and the extensive programs involving education, housing, healthcare, jobs, and other initiatives supporting community development—have made the campus and neighborhoods surrounding it significantly safer and more secure. The University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD), in particular, merits credit for the quality of its ongoing service.
At the same time, administrative functions and strategies that directly impact safety and security can be significantly improved and better coordinated. Following an initial discussion and review of community concerns documented in letters to the President and other senior administrators, as well as comments at various open forums, the committee identified four central components of safety and security for focused and expedited review: (1) emergency and crime communication, (2) transportation services, (3) safety education and outreach, and (4) capital investments. In terms of process, the committee has tried to understand enough detail of current efforts and plans underway in each of these areas. However, the goal of our work is not to recommend detailed implementation plans but to define a set of broad priorities and key operational issues that will have the most impact on improving campus safety and security. The committee discussed student, faculty, and staff suggestions; it met with University administrators responsible for each area; and it evaluated best practices at peer institutions. The committee did not review or assess specific strategy issues related to the UCPD. We did, however, meet with a representative of The Bratton Group who shared the general tenor and direction of its work reviewing UCPD operations. Each of the committee’s four central components of safety and security is addressed in a separate section below. In addition, the report briefly describes the committee’s recommendations about two key overarching implementation issues: the balance between future investment in central campus and neighborhood security, and the much-needed coordination of an overall strategy for security and safety.
These two points merit emphasis:
First, this report makes a series of recommendations that will need to be implemented across departments. In order to be effective, the University should adopt best practice by establishing central coordination and oversight for implementation of the recommendations.
Second, a major issue concerns the balance of the University’s efforts in safety and security with reference to the campus, the neighborhoods into which the campus extends, and the community composed of the neighborhoods of Woodlawn, Hyde Park, and Kenwood. This issue is a complex matter. Several observations seem particularly important:
- The UCPD’s current area of coverage is quite broad (39th Street to the north, 64th Street to the south, Cottage Grove Avenue to the west, and Lake Shore Drive to the east).
- Broader police coverage needs to be complemented by enhanced attention and visible presence of security on the immediate campus. Our report attempts to address this need with reference to transportation (better bus service, escorts, possibly foot patrols by police), as well as technical improvements in lighting on campus and enhanced building security.
- Because of the expansion of the University’s South Campus, off-campus student housing clusters, and our charter school campuses, what constitutes the im- mediate campus may have shifted in the eyes of our current campus community. For purposes of our review, we have as- sumed that the core campus consists of the area between Dorchester and Drexel Avenues, and 55th and 61st Streets. This issue merits future administrative review and should be a consideration as safety and security implementation plans are crafted and funded.
It must also be noted that this report makes a series of recommendations independent of financial considerations. The committee is aware that available funds and inevitable limits on administrative time and attention will require their prioritization, and we strongly urge that all the recommendations be revisited on an annual basis with the goal of complete implementation.
Summary of Recommendations
Improve Emergency and Crime Communication We propose clear guidelines delineating levels of “when,” “what,” and “how” security information is shared.
- The cAlert Emergency Notification System (utilizing all available communication outlets) should be used for events when immediate behavior change of University affiliates is required. Additional efforts at increasing participant rates should be undertaken.
- Security alerts (all email, selected cAlert) should be used to notify University affiliates (and community members who have signed up) of a criminal incident when awareness or behavior modification can impact safety. Guidelines for decision makers issuing such alerts are proposed.
- The University should develop a reliable and accessible web-based system for collecting and sharing all criminal activity and aggregate crime data from our campus and neighboring community areas.
Expand Transportation Services On balance, the University’s current transportation system is oriented toward most efficiently meeting the needs of riders. The committee recommends that safety considerations and ridership growth opportunities carry greater weight in planning equations.
- Create a new shuttle bus system to lo op a round campus (55th to 60th Streets , Cottage Grove to Stony Island Avenues).
- Provide walking escort service staffed by UCPD police or security personnel.
- Integrate these new services with existing ones, including an improved SafeRide Program (formerly Late Night Van Service) to create a comprehensive, accessible, and reliable system for safe late-night travel.
- Establish new CTA bus services for Woodlawn.
- Improve Safety Education and Outreach New strategies and tactics are needed for better reaching students, faculty, and staff with messages that promote safety.
- Create an integrated marketing plan to generate compelling advertising and media that increase personnel and property safety on campus.
- Increase campus interactions with UCPD personnel, including regularly scheduled safety education workshops for students, faculty, and staff.
- Better utilize video and other tools developed for employee orientation on an ongoing basis; perhaps integrate them with a new University website and incorporate them into faculty/department meetings.
- Promote transportation resources, especially late at night, and deliver on promises for service.
- Make Capital Investments to Improve Campus Safety Attention to three aspects of the University’s physical plant could significantly enhance campus safety.
Investments in lighting on- campus and in the immediate environs should continue with all due speed, with a priority focus on security-enhancing placements and upgrades that provide more consistent lighting to walkways while limiting light pollution and glare.
Planning for expanded use of cameras should continue. It is crucial to coordinate these efforts with the City and also with the community, both to ensure their most strategic deployment and to address privacy concerns.
The University should establish a baseline level of security for all campus buildings and should be responsible for its maintenance.
1. Improve Emergency and Crime Communication
The shootings on November 19, 2007, raised many logistical and policy questions about the University’s emergency and crime notification systems. The committee reviewed the notification system used on November 19, the feedback received from the campus community after the event, and an interim policy developed by several senior administrators in response to notification concerns. The committee also reviewed and discussed a report submitted to the President and the Provost prior to the November 19 incidents by the Safety Awareness Committee (a subcommittee of the Committee on Crime Prevention and Security on Campus and in the Neighborhood, chaired by Richard Rosengarten). This report provided a set of recommendations on ways the University could improve the effectiveness of safety notifications and alerts. Finally, the committee met with NSIT administrators, Duel Richardson, and Julie Peterson to more fully understand the notification systems and related communication challenges.
Key questions brought to the committee’s attention and discussed through this process included:
- What are the objectives, policies, and procedures for issuing an emergency or crime/security alert?
- How can all the available methods and media for communication be utilized to improve the immediacy and overall effectiveness of emergency and crime notifications?
- Is the effectiveness of the security alert email system diminished because of the high frequency of use? Do recipients pay attention?
- How can we better aggregate and communicate crime incidents and long- term data to allow individuals to better evaluate and understand crime threats and trends in our community?
- What are the policies and procedures surrounding decision making on emergency and crime notifications? Can they be streamlined?
- How will the information needs of families of students at the University and the Laboratory Schools be integrated into the emergency communication system(s)? Recommendations
The committee concurs with the campus communication experts and advisory groups who believe the ultimate purpose of both emergency and security alerts should be to change or impact behavior in order to prevent injury or harm . This mu st b e done by providing appropriate and accurate information delivered in the most timely way possible. Best practices used at other institutions and changing government guidelines should influence future policy enhancements in this area. We hope the recommendations outlined below help the University to achieve this goal.
The committee’s recommendations are organized into three categories, detailed below. A key recommendation, made in accordance with the report of the Safety Awareness Committee, is to limit the number of email security alerts and instead create a web-based system for collecting and sharing crime information. The committee believes the University, in implementing this recommendation, must remain diligent in collecting all criminal activity and aggregate crime data and sharing it in a reliable, expedient, and accessible way to allow all members of the campus and broader community to be fully informed. The successful implementation of these systems will require careful coordination among the offices of community affairs, communications, and NSIT. An oversight body, perhaps a reconfigured Committee on Crime Prevention and Security, should exist to provide ongoing campus input and feedback to the system.
- Update, expand, and promote the emergency notification system. The cAlert Emergency Notification System will be used for an event that poses a serious threat to persons or property, to address the need to alleviate panic, and/ or to notify University affiliates of the closing of all or parts of campus because of an unplanned event. T he system is used to disseminate information along with all-campus bulk email. A community sign-up list can be created to take the place of the former “security alert” list and be incorporated into this information distribution system. The committee recommends an update to the Emergency Management Plan to incorporate new University organizational structures, policies, and communication needs of affiliates, including both Laboratory Schools families and parents of students in the College. In addition, student participation in the cAlert System should be mandatory.
- Implement a new security alert email system.
The committee is in agreement with the interim Guidelines for Immediate Security Alerts (produced 2-16-08 and summarized below) and recommends that they be formally adopted. The delivery and dissemination plan, which includes selected cAlert mechanisms, the use of all- campus bulk email, and a community sign- up list, was also discussed and met with approval by the committee. The committee recommends that the decision-making process for issuing alerts be streamlined, with one or two administrators working together with the Chief of Police and Security Services (or designee) to issue an alert. We also strongly encourage the addition of a public information officer to UCPD staff to support the enhanced communications efforts being requested of the department. The committee acknowledges that the categories below are not absolute , and individual judgment is necessary. For example, if a suspect is caught immediately after a gun is fired, an alert may not be warranted.
An alert is sent when:
- a gun is fired in the direction of a person or another weapon is used to injure another person on campus or in the immediate contiguous areas
- an individual is killed due to violence in the UCPD service area
- an individual reports a sexual assault or battery by a stranger, and the incident occurred recently on campus or in the immediate contiguous areas; and/or
- there is any pattern of violent crime on campus that is observed to have occurred over a short period of time.
Campus notification might be sent when the UCPD and University Officer Team believe broad awareness of the following types of crime is important.
- Any violent crime on or in the immediate vicinity of campus or University-owned property
- Any pattern of violent crimes in the UCPD patrol district, whether that pattern occurs in a single day or over an extended period of time
- Any incident of violent crime in the UCPD service area that is especially concerning including crime near schools, heavily populated areas, hate crimes, etc.
- Build a new web-based system for crime information. A reliable and accessible web-based system for collecting and sharing all criminal activity and aggregate crime data from our campus and neighboring community areas should be created as soon as possible. In formation in the system should include day-to-day listings of crime on campus and within UCPD patrol boundaries, and crime trend information on campus (in accordance with the Clery Act), within UCPD patrol boundaries, and in broader community areas as requested and available. Links to independent sources of information (City of Chicago, Block-by-Block, etc.) should be incorporated as appropriate.
2. Expand Transportation Services
In our conversations as a committee and in our discussions with members of the campus who have contacted us, we have been struck continually by the importance of the utter reliability of transportation services and by the need to think more broadly than has perhaps been the case about its users both actual and potential. These services are at least as important to staff as they are to students, and the needs are diverse and run the gamut of the twenty-four hours of the day and the seven days of the week. On balance, the University’s transportation system has been oriented toward efficiently meeting the demands of most riders. Safety considerations need to have more weight in this equation. Specific suggestions we have heard from campus constituents who contacted administrators and individual committee members directly include:
- Improve the predictability and wait time for University-sponsored bus services, especially SafeRide.
- Increase after-dark services.
- Expand shuttle bus services, especially south of the Midway.
- Better serve the students, faculty, and staff who work in BSD and PSD laboratories throughout the night.
- Improve and better coordinate University and Medical Center shuttle services between buildings and parking garages.
- Incorporate safety considerations into future transportation planning and budgeting.
- Improve the marketing and communication of transportation services to increase ridership.
Brian Shaw provided an overview to the committee of current University/CTA services, benchmarking information from other campuses, and recommendations for how the University can more effectively and efficiently meet the transportation and safety needs of the campus community. The committee considered these recommendations and discussed related implementation and service delivery issues, such as routing. For the purposes of this report, the recommendations outlined below focus on the high-priority service delivery improvements the committee believes will have the most impact on improving ridership and safe travel, and that are comparable to efforts in place at peer institutions. Operational issues can be addressed in the implementation plans developed by Campus Transportation and Parking.
Fundamental to the successful implementation of any transportation improvements is the development of a marketing and communication plan that will build ridership and promote safe travel. Lighting in and around parking garages and bus stops is also an important transportation-related improvement necessary to build ridership and improve safety.
- Create a new campus circulatory shuttle system.
- The University is currently lacking a circulatory shuttle system—common on many campuses across the country—that would allow affiliated commuters to travel more quickly and safely around campus. The committee expects a new shuttle system would improve travel from area parking garages, better serve students and employees living or working on or near campus (including the medical district), and provide a needed addition to late-night transportation options. The expectation is that these services would be frequent and predictable, and run all day and into the night.
- Create a walking escort service and integrate it with late-night transportation options. The committee believes the University can more effectively meet the diverse, late-night transportation needs of employees and students by developing a multifaceted, integrated, geographic-based transportation improvement strategy. Currently, UCPD’s Umbrella Service (a UCPD patrol car following a pedestrian or she walks to destination) support s late-night travel needs. The efficiency and effectiveness of this system should be evaluated in the context of the expanded transportation options suggested below.
- For the core campus: Implement a walking escort system (similar to those at Harvard and Brown Universities), where professional escorts managed by UCPD are available to walk University affiliates to their campus and nearby destinations.
- Around campus: Utilize the new campus circulatory shuttle system de- scribed above.
- For off campus: Continue using the newly expanded SafeRide service for point-to-point trips within the UCPD coverage boundaries. Technological and phone system improvements to this system, including GPS tracking capabilities and a reservation system, should be strongly considered. More vans should also be considered as necessary. As the SafeRide Pro- gram continues to grow (and is enhanced with walking escorts), better methods for tracking and dispatch will be needed to ensure effective, and hence better utilized, service delivery.
- Establish a new CTA bus route that serves Woodlawn. Expanded bus service is needed as the South Campus and Woodlawn community continue to develop. Currently over 1,200 University affiliates live in Woodlawn. New CTA bus service will address current needs of both University and community residents, it will support the growing desirability of Woodlawn as an affordable and convenient place to live, and it will create an additional traffic presence that may deter criminal activity.
3. Improve Safety Education and Outreach
The purpose of the committee’s discussion on education and outreach was to assess what more we could be doing as an institution to encourage personal responsibility for safety. This is a complex issue, as communication and outreach efforts need to acknowledge the precautionary reality inherent in city living without creating undue fear of the community.
The committee met with Martina Munsters, Sgt. JoCathy Roberts, Belinda Cortez Vázquez, Karyn LaTurner, and Ingrid Gould to discuss safety education services for students, faculty, and staff. An analysis of safety education programs used at other colleges and universities was also presented. The University of Pennsylvania was highlighted as an outstanding model for safety communication and outreach programs, with leadership centralized in a vice president role in their Division of Public Safety and Department of Special Services.
An overview of the University’s current safety education and outreach efforts: All matriculating students participate in safety education programs through their academic units as part of orientation. Likewise new staff receive safety awareness information at the new employee orientation organized by UHRM. Sgt. Roberts is actively involved in orientation programs for graduate students as well as for new staff. She also makes a number of one-time presentations with groups of faculty, students, and staff at departments or units upon specific request. Deans Munsters and Vázquez described in more detail safety education efforts for undergraduates. They noted that, in addition to formal orientation presentations by Sgt. Roberts, student orientation leaders have informal dialogue with incoming students about how best to navigate the streets of Chicago as part of the Chicago Life meetings. Throughout the year, Sgt. Roberts also meets with House Councils within the residence halls upon request, although there is little consistency in whom she meets with and how often. In addition, Sgt. Roberts has worked with Student Government to organize on- campus beat meetings for students. Based on these conversations, the committee suggests the following actions and strategies be implemented to encourage greater awareness, understanding, and responsibility for personal and property safety.
- Develop a comprehensive marketing and advertising plan to raise awareness, change behavior, and encourage utilization of resources (i.e., late-night transportation services). NSIT’s laptop campaign is a good example of an effective outreach program. Involve students from the Graduate School of Business to lead the planning effort.
- Integrate and streamline all information regarding University safety resources onto one accessible website. The committee was particularly impressed by the website maintained by the University of Pennsylvania.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the safety “tips” that are now being sent via email. Incorporate them into a more integrated communication strategy.
- Develop an aggressive agenda of consistent, prescheduled safety education workshops throughout the year for students, faculty, and staff.
- Expand the number of officers responsible for campus outreach.
- Enhance interaction between UCPD officers and students through interactive and purposeful programming that is educational and builds trust.
- Partner with academic deans and department chairs to develop strategies to support safety awareness programs within the academic units for faculty, staff, and students. Strategies should include the development of a sustained and interactive relationship between the UCPD and each academic unit.
4. Make Capital Investments to Improve Campus Safety
The campus community provided many suggestions for improving security that focused on three aspects of the University’s physical plant. The committee was continually reminded in its work of the twin facts that while such efforts have long been recognized and even addressed, none of them has achieved completion. So long as this condition remains, the University faces a double problem: first, neighborhood safety is at least indirectly compromised; and, second, some members of the community perceive that the University is not addressing safety issues adequately.
The committee received a status report on installations and current areas of investment focus in lighting on campus and in the surrounding neighbor- hoods from Richard Bumstead and Abby Zanarini. Progress in the transformation of outdated outdoor fixtures and of the general illumination of certain areas of the campus and the neighborhood has been inhibited by budget constraints. Members of the committee also met with student and campus groups including the Ryerson Astronomical Society. Many campus constituents are concerned that there is not enough light in certain areas of campus, and too much light and glare in others. Investments should continue to be made with all due speed, with a priority focus on security-enhancing placements and upgrades that provide more consistent lighting to walkways while limiting light pollution and glare.
Planning for expanded use of cameras should continue. It is crucial to coordinate these efforts with the City and also with the community, both to ensure their most strategic deployment and to address privacy concerns. Rudy Nimocks has been in ongoing conversation with the Chicago Police Department and other technical experts concerning the installa- tion of security cameras at key locations in the neighborhood. Such cameras would produce pictures that could be viewed on laptops in squad cars and on computer screens in UCPD offices. They would allow more comprehensive law enforcement and would be a source of information after the fact about crimes that had been committed. Peer institutions deploy this technology to excellent effect, and so should we. It is crucial to coordinate these efforts with the City and also with the community, both to ensure their most strategic deployment and to address concerns about privacy. These efforts will almost certainly also raise ques- tions about both the appropriateness and the need for such surveillance technology in University buildings across the campus, including the residence halls.
The University should establish a baseline level of security for all campus buildings and should be responsible for its maintenance. At present this is not the case; as a consequence, there is wide disparity in building security and in some instances confusion about responsibility. In addition to establishing and maintaining this baseline level, it is crucial to assess building usage by its resi- dents, with special consideration for those buildings—primarily but by no means exclusively in the sciences—where people work through the night hours, with special intensity during the summer months, etc. The review of baseline needs should in- clude an assessment of if, when, and where cameras are used in buildings owned by the University or occupied by University affiliates (i.e., charter schools). Implementation Considerations Central Coordination While the committee distinguishes four areas of focus in its report, the recommendations and follow-up are all interrelated. As such, the committee believes that the coordination and oversight of the recommendations described above, in addition to other safety and security responsibilities, should be centralized. Although a discrete committee could be appointed, a single person coordinating the effort is preferred. There are precedents for such arrangements at peer institutions, and the committee was especially impressed with the work of the University of Pennsylvania in this regard. Therefore, the committee strongly recommends that the University appoint an administrator with focused responsibility for coordinating all safety initiatives. This appointment should be a new position and not an addition to someone’s current duties. Such an individual would ensure that the work of the UCPD is coordinated with the work of Campus Transportation and Parking, and that both of these entities are in regular contact with the University officials responsible for communication, for information technology, for community relations, and for student life. Ongoing oversight and coordination of these components of safety and security are essential.
It is important to consider the question of balance between services to campus versus those to the wider community, given the University’s commitment to being a good neighbor and investment partner in community development versus our recent core-campus safety concerns. Under the guidance of Shirley Newsome and Sonya Malunda, some committee members toured the UCPD’s coverage area (39th Street to the north , 64th Street to the south, Cottage Grove Avenue to the west, and Lake Shore Drive to the east), paying particular attention to the neighborhood schools and streets where the UCPD is most actively involved. During the tour, Ms. Malunda explained the UCPD’s expansion into North Kenwood/Oakland (NKO), which includes (a) the presence of the NKO and Donoghue Campuses of the University of Chicago Charter School, (b) the growing number of University affiliates moving into NKO, and (c) support for the transformation of NKO into a community of choice for local and University affiliates alike. The UCPD’s Woodlawn expansion was primarily related to the high crime rate, the growing number of University affiliates moving into the area, and Grove Parc’s issues.
It is clear that it is very important to maintain the University’s commitment to supporting crime prevention in area neighborhoods and specifically at K–12 educational facilities. Safety experts all agree that the most effective way to reduce crime is to foster community development. Community development is fueled in large part by an active crime prevention strategy and police presence. We can see the success of these interrelated strategies at work in North Kenwood/Oakland, where crime has decreased dramatically and there is a growing population of University affiliates living in the area. With the increase of University affiliates living in the neighborhoods surrounding the University, the concept of what constitutes the core campus has shifted over time to include more of the immediate environs. Some of these neighborhoods (i.e., Woodlawn) continue to have such very high crime rates that it is difficult to imagine a decrease in security resources where there is much need for support and where the majority of our campus building investments are being made. Operationally, UCPD has tended to focus—as do the Chicago Police—more resources on higher crime areas and on crime prevention and investigation activities. Crime on campus is fairly low and traditionally has received fewer resources as a result. But crime on campus, however low, appears to have a greater impact on feelings of safety for the University community.
It seems clear to the committee that the University should enhance services supporting the immediate core campus without unduly impacting services that support the larger South Side community and its sustained and future development. Special attention also needs to be given to the serious building security concerns at our charter school campuses. Ultimately the overall balance of resources will need to be determined in light of the recommendations coming from the Bratton Group and ongoing University discussions.
Tragedy begets reflection and reaction. Our deliberations have been informed by the reactions of the manifold constituencies that constitute our community, and our recommendations range broadly in scope and detail. The most important conclusion that has emerged from our work, however, is sharp and unambiguous: the safety and security of our community, broadly construed, is not just a function of more intense policing, better communication, or enhanced transportation, but rather of a unified, centrally organized and administered program that synthesizes these and other important factors into a comprehensive strategy and ongoing administrative policy. It is not our part to weigh priorities or to suggest allocative weights, but rather to emphasize that the whole must necessarily be greater than the sum of the parts and that the parts must be carefully coordinated if the enterprise is to be as effective as we all agree it should and must be.
Members of the Campus Safety and Security Committee
- Eve Ewing, student
- Kimberly Goff-Crews, Vice President and Dean of Students in the University;
- Eric Handsman, student,
- Dennis Hutchinson, William Rainey Harper Professor, the College; Senior Lecturer, Law School; Associate Dean, the College; Master, New Collegiate Division
- Michael Hwang, student
- Gregory A. Jackson, Vice President and Chief Information Officer
- Sonya Malunda, Assistant Vice President and Director, Community Affairs
- Rodney Morris, Director, Public Safety, Parking, and External Transportation, Medical Center
- Shirley Newsome, Community Representative; Chair, South East Chicago Commission
- Rudolph E. Nimocks Sr., Chief of Police and Security Services, University Police Department
- Michelle Olson, Director, External and Government Affairs, Office of Community and Civic Affairs;
- Richard Rosengarten, Dean, Divinity School;
- Co-Chair Marsha R. Rosner, the Charles B. Huggins Professor, Ben May Department for Cancer Research and Committees on Cancer Biology, Cell Physiology, and Developmental Biology
- David Stafford, Associate Director, Laboratory Schools Committee Participants
- Bill Andrews, Project Consultant, Bratton Group
- Bob Bartlett, Director, Network-Based Services and Applications Research and Development, NSIT
- Richard Bumstead, University Planner, Facilities Services
- Ernie Froemel, Senior Consultant, Organizational Development, NSIT
- Ingrid Gould, Associate Provost for Faculty and Student Affairs
- Karyn LaTurner, Manager, Student Emergency Response Systems
- Melinda Morang, Ryerson Astronomical Society President
- Martina Munsters, Deputy Dean of Students in the University for Student Affairs
- Julie Peterson, Vice President for University Communications Duel Richardson, Director, Neighborhood Relations
- Sgt. JoCathy Roberts, Crime Prevention Officer and Community Liaison, University Police Department
- Brian Shaw, Director, Campus Transportation and Parking, Facilities Services
- Belinda Cortez Vázquez, Assistant Dean of Students in the University for Student Affairs
- Abby Zanarini, Assistant Vice President, Facilities Services