Community Safety FAQ

Answers to general questions about community safety.

What are the late-night transportation services the University provides?

The late-night transportation services consist of the NightRide Program, and Umbrella Coverage provided by the University of Chicago Police Department.

NightRide Program

The goal of the NightRide Program is to provide safe, timely and reliable transportation during late-night hours to faculty, students and staff throughout campus and the surrounding area.

The NightRide shuttles operate from 5 pm to 4 am on Sunday through Wednesday, and 5 pm to 6 am Thursday through Saturday. Shuttles run approximately every 20 to 30 minutes.

Umbrella coverage

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.

What is the safety alert system at the University of Chicago?

The University has two safety awareness and alert systems in place.

Safety Awareness Alert system

The system used to alert the campus community and others who register about specific crime incidents is the Safety Awareness Alert system. This system is not designed to report every crime in the community; it is an email communication system that provides factual information about certain crimes and crime patterns to help the community make prudent safety decisions. An incident prompts a safety awareness alert when particular precautions are warranted or when an unusually violent or high-profile crime is reported. An incident prompts a Safety Awareness Alert when:

  • a crime against a person occurs within the University campus area;
  • the police believe particular precautions are warranted to avoid encountering an offender;
  • an unusually violent crime—such as sexual assault or homicide—has been reported; or
  • a crime has become the subject of widespread community discussion and an alert is needed to replace rumor with facts.

Safety Awareness Alerts briefly describe what happened, when, and where; descriptions of the offender are given if the victim’s report is sufficiently detailed to aid in identification of a specific suspect. Safety Awareness Alerts do not identify the victim by name, exact address, or University affiliation, nor do they report domestic crimes or crimes where the victim knows the offender.

Emergency Notification System (cAlert)

The Emergency Notification System, called cAlert, enables authorized University officials to reach members of the University community through mechanisms other than regular University email and telephones. The new system can transmit short notifications by email to any outside email address, by text message to a cell phone, or by voice message to an off-campus telephone. This system allows the University to contact individuals in case of emergency, a University closing, or some other event that requires rapid, wide-scale notification of the community.

What other safety resources are available?

Below is a list of websites that provide a variety of information about safety:

What data are available regarding the incidence of crime on and around campus?

Violent crime (murder, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault and battery) has been relatively unchanged from 2004–2006 in the patrol area of the University of Chicago Police Department, which includes 39th to 61st streets and Cottage Grove to Lake Shore Drive. However, violent crime during that three-year period has decreased in Hyde Park-South Kenwood and increased in Woodlawn.

More detailed crime statistics:

What is the University doing to address the underlying issues of poverty and unequal opportunity that contribute to crime in the community?

Throughout the University of Chicago are students, faculty, staff, and alumni who dedicate their time, energy, and talents to strengthening the neighborhoods of the mid-South Side and the city of Chicago. As a research institution, the University devotes considerable resources to studying the issues that deeply impact our communities, our society, and our world. The University has undertaken a number of specific initiatives, in partnership with government and community organizations, to improve the quality of life in our surrounding communities. These efforts include charter schools and school partnerships to improve the public education system; provision of medical care to many members of our community; programs to enhance the availability of jobs for residents of the mid-South Side; and investments in housing, retail, and public amenities. Over the past five years, the University has invested more than $70 million in these and other community engagement initiatives.