December 6, 2007
Vol. 27 No. 6

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    President Zimmer initiates new security measures across campus

    In an e-mail message sent Monday, Nov. 26—one of several messages that President Zimmer has sent to the University community since the fatal shooting of Amadou Cisse—the President reiterated that the University would continue to make campus security a top priority. He also updated the community about the actions that have been taken to strengthen campus safety.

    In addition to permanently increasing police patrols on and around campus by 50 percent between 4 p.m. and midnight and more than doubling the police car presence after midnight, the University has established a police substation at 61st Street and Drexel Avenue. That facility will be staffed 24 hours a day and will provide a visible police presence south of the Midway Plaisance. The substation will operate until the University Police Department’s new facility opens at that location in May 2008. A police substation will remain at he current headquarters at 56th Street and Ellis Avenue, once the new headquarters open in the spring.

    Two additional vans have been added to the University’s SafeRide program, and the service has been expanded to begin at 5 p.m. Phone lines also have been added to ensure that callers will be able to reach a dispatcher to request a ride.

    This on-demand van service is available Sunday through Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. for students and employees located in the University Police area of coverage (39th Street to 64th Street, Lake Shore Drive to Cottage Grove Avenue). Individuals should call (773) 702-2022 and give their precise address for pick-up, and have their University ID ready when boarding the bus. For more information about the SafeRide program or the University’s evening bus service, please visit http://facilities.uchicago.edu/transpparking/transportation/index.shtml. You may e-mail any questions, concerns or suggestions to bus@uchicago.edu.

    Anyone within the University Police coverage area may request a police escort at any time if they feel uncomfortable with their surroundings. Call (773) 702-8181 and give your location; the first available patrol car will be dispatched to accompany you as you walk to your destination.

    For more information about this Umbrella Coverage and other personal safety programs, please call (773) 702-8181 or visit http://oca.uchicago.edu/safety.

    To reach the UCPD in an emergency, dial (773) 702-8181 or press the red button on one of the emergency phones located in the area. For non-emergency requests, please call (773) 702-8190. Suggestions on security enhancements in or around campus may be sent to communityaffairs@uchicago.edu.

    As the University implements these immediate measures, it also will undertake a sustained and comprehensive effort to improve campus safety, wrote Zimmer. “I am appointing a Working Group on Safety and Security composed of faculty, staff, students and community representatives to work intensively on a range of safety improvements,” he noted.

    Zimmer has appointed Kimberly Goff-Crews, Vice President and Dean of Students in the University, and Rick Rosengarten, Dean of the Divinity School and current chair of the Committee on Crime Prevention and Security on Campus and in the Neighborhood, to co-chair the group. It will review current security efforts, including policing, transportation, lighting and dissemination of information; solicit ideas for improving campus safety; and make recommendations about additional improvements.

    The University also will consult with an external security firm, which will conduct a thorough review of security measures and recommend any changes that might increase the University’s effectiveness regarding safety.

    “We also are working in partnership with City of Chicago officials, local elected officials, community leaders and residents to address the level of crime on the mid-South Side. We have extensive programs with our South Side community involving education, housing, jobs and other aspects inherent to a community that fosters a safe and secure environment. We will continue this work,” wrote Zimmer.