May 30, 2007

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    President Zimmer updates University community on safety and security measures

    The University has announced an additional set of improvements to enhance safety and security on campus, which will address key areas identified by members of the Campus Safety and Security Committee and the external security consultants of the Bratton Group.

    President Zimmer recently notified the University community via e-mail about the new efforts that expand upon safety and security measures already in place. New efforts are being launched in the areas of leadership structure for campus safety and security, police deployment and staffing, technology, transportation,communication and incident reporting, and safety education and outreach. Community development and efforts to improve the quality of life in surrounding neighborhoods will continue to be a priority.

    “The recommendations of the committee are complemented by those made by our external consultants,” Zimmer wrote, “and the insights and recommendations of both groups provide the rationale and context for a set of immediate steps.”

    As a result of the security assessments and committee’s recommendations, the University will create the position of Associate Vice President for Safety and Security. Reporting to the Vice President for Community and Civic Affairs, the new AVP will oversee the work of the University Police Department, led by Chief of Police Rudy Nimocks; the Office of Transportation and Parking; and a new department of physical security. The new department will set and implement standards for building access control and related technology. A search is unde rway to fill the new AVP position.

    To increase the visibility of police and security forces around campus, the University will implement greater use of foot and bicycle patrols. An increase in full-time police officers and new resources to increase the capacity for crime analysis and investigation also are planned.

    Proven technologies used to increase security of physical environments will be installed on campus, including security cameras and improved lighting. Zimmer noted in his message that a new University-wide electronic security system to allow for greater control over access to key buildings is also part of the new efforts, as is the installation of updated computer dispatch and crime analysis software for the UCPD.

    In the aftermath of the fatal shooting of graduate student Amadou Cisse in November 2007, the University took immediate measures to improve security on campus, including the expansion of its late-night transportation services. These services now will be further enhanced by adding a new shuttle bus system with regular, frequent service around campus and a walking escort service that will operate at night for students, faculty and staff. “We also will work with elected officials and community leaders to advocate for more bus service operated by the Chicago Transit Authority into Woodlawn,” noted Zimmer.

    The University’s Community Safety Web site will be redesigned to be more comprehensive and include daily reports of crime incidents to which the UCPD has responded, aggregate crime data, identification of trends and safety education materials.

    The UCPD will increase its interactions with groups and departments on campus, Zimmer wrote, and will offer more regularly scheduled safety education workshops for members of the University community. In addition, outreach efforts will include the development of multimedia safety education materials that will be disseminated widely.

    Continued outreach efforts in the city of Chicago will remain a priority of the University, wrote Zimmer. “We will continue to work in partnership with the city, local elected officials and our neighbors to improve the quality of local schools, provide community residents with access to training and jobs, bring more amenities to the South Side and understand how we can work together to prevent violence.”

    Updates on these efforts will be posted at the University’s Community Safety Web site at uchicago.edu/safety/. Safety ideas and questions may be sent to communityaffairs@uchicago.edu.