Community Safety FAQ
Answers to general questions about community safety.
- What are the late-night transportation services the University provides?
- What improvements have been made in recent years to police services?
- What is the safety alert system at the University of Chicago?
- What other safety resources are available?
- What data are available regarding the incidence of crime on and around campus?
- What is the University doing to address the underlying issues of poverty and unequal opportunity that contribute to crime in the community?
What are the late-night transportation services the University provides?
The late-night transportation services consist of the NightRide Pilot Program, and Umbrella Coverage provided by the University of Chicago Police Department.
- More information about the NightRide Pilot Program.
- Please email any questions, concerns, or suggestions for improvement.
NightRide Pilot Program
In response to feedback from riders and students, SafeRide has been combined with the Evening shuttles to begin offering comprehensive shuttle service to the entire campus community on a fixed schedule along highly used routes. The goal of this newly expanded NightRide Pilot 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 Pilot Program shuttles operate during the same hours in which the previous program operated–5 pm to 4 am on Sunday through Wednesday nights, and 5 pm to 6 am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Shuttles will no longer be dispatched on a call-by-call basis through the communication center, but will run approximately every 20 to 30 minutes throughout the evening.
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 improvements have been made in recent years to police services?
The University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) has worked to keep our communities safe for more than 40 years. This professionally trained force operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year.
Over the past decade, we have expanded University Police coverage from 39th to 64th Streets and Cottage Grove Avenue to Lake Shore Drive. Our budget for police protection has increased by more than $1 million over the past three years with the additional budget funding 15 new FTE police officer positions. With a current annual budget of $5.5 million, the University employs 146 state-certified officers who have full police powers. They respond to emergency calls, patrol neighborhoods, listen to residents’ concerns, and more. Their location and staffing allow them to respond very rapidly to incidents and safety requests in their coverage area.
We have spent an additional $1.5 million on emergency phones over the past four years. Currently, we have 329 emergency phones located throughout our coverage area, and we continue to add new phones as we evaluate the environment on campus and in our surroundings neighborhoods.
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.
- Alerts also are posted on 20 designated bulletin boards around campus and distributed by fax to offices throughout the University.
- Subscribe to receive alerts and tips automatically by email
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:
- The cAlert Emergency Notification System can send safety messages to your email, cell phone or other device
- Late-night transportation services on campus
- The University’s SafeRide program
- Common Sense, the University’s guide to safe urban living
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:
- UCPD Daily Incident Reports
- Hyde Park-South Kenwood Violent Crimes
- Historical Data
- Common Sense, the University’s guide to safe urban living
- Chicago Police Department CLEAR MAP Crime Summary
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.