University continues to make safety a priorityBy Deva Woodly
The University introduced expanded shuttle bus service, new foot and bike patrols, and a new community safety Web site this fall, as part of an ongoing effort to improve safety throughout campus and neighboring communities.
“Creating a safe and secure community environment continues to be among our highest priorities,” said Rudy Nimocks, Chief of the University of Chicago Police Department.
The newly revamped community safety Web site, http://www.uchicago.edu/safety/, will serve as a clearinghouse for information about crime statistics, prevention tips, public safety announcements and policing information. All crime reported to the University Police Department will be logged on the safety Web site each business day.
News of serious incidents of crime, which might pose a community threat, will be sent via a e-mail alert to staff, faculty, students and community members who have registered to receive the alerts. Those who wish to receive these alerts, as well as notification of significant emergency or natural disaster, should visit https://calert.uchicago.edu/.
The goal of these improved information resources is to give members of the University and surrounding neighborhoods the tools to take preventative actions to protect their safety and reduce the likelihood of becoming the victims of crime.
In addition, the department of Transportation & Parking has launched a new pilot shuttle, which began operation Oct. 1. This shuttle service is in addition to the existing evening shuttles that the University.
The pilot shuttle service will consist of four buses running along two routes: The Phoenix runs north and south, counterclockwise via Ellis Avenue, 60th Street, Woodlawn Avenue, 59th Street, University Avenue and 55th Street; the Maroon runs east and west, clockwise using 57th Street, Stony Island Avenue, 60th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. The shuttles will operate seven days a week, running from 5 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday and 5 p.m. through 6 a.m. Thursday thru Saturday. The shuttle stops will be spaced no more than 12 minutes apart.
As with the evening bus service, the shuttle rides are free and open to anyone bearing University identification. In addition, riders not affiliated with the University may ride the shuttle when accompanied by a passenger with a University ID. For more information, visit bus.uchicago.edu.
Another new safety program initiated in August supplements University police with Public Safety Coordinators, a corps of unarmed security personnel who patrol campus by bicycle and on foot. These uniformed coordinators will be on duty Monday thru Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., the times of greatest pedestrian traffic.
The Public Safety Coordinators will be uniformed, but unlike UCPD officers, they will wear maroon shirts with a University Public Safety logo as well as blue pants and a blue and maroon jacket in colder weather. Those on bicycle patrol will wear white helmets, and those on foot will wear blue caps also emblazoned with the Public Safety logo.
Nimocks noted that safety continues to improve throughout the UCPD-patrolled areas (39th to 64th streets, Lake Shore Drive to Cottage Grove Avenue), with violent crimes down about 10 percent from last year and 19 percent from 2004.