Response to Thursday’s Midway crimes

To: The Campus Community
From: Kimberly Goff-Crews, Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students in the University, and Marlon Lynch, Associate Vice President for Safety and Security and Chief of Police
Date: November 12, 2010

Early this morning you received a security alert about two attacks that took place near the Midway. We understand that because of the time and locations, these were alarming incidents. We share your concern. We are writing to inform you of steps the University has already taken to respond, and let you know about opportunities to discuss and learn more about safety on campus.

Beginning this evening, from 4pm to 2am, seven days a week, security guards—you’ll recognize them by their brightly colored vests labeled “SECURITY”—are providing foot patrols and walking escorts across the Midway at Ellis Ave. and University Ave. By the end of the weekend, that will expand to crossings at Woodlawn and Dorchester. University of Chicago Police will also have an increased presence in the area, including foot patrols along Ellis Ave. and the Midway.

The University is partway through a multi-year effort to improve lighting across campus. The Midway Crossings project, set to be completed on Ellis Ave. in December and Woodlawn Ave. in February, will significantly improve lighting, as well as adding emergency phones and other safety features to those corridors.

Even as we take these concrete steps to increase security, it is important that we remember to take care of one another. That is a central part of what it means to be a community. Violent crime is down in our area, but no violence is acceptable—the more we keep an eye out for each other, the safer all of us will be.

Though you’ve heard many of our crime prevention tips before, they remain some of our best safety tools. Walk together in groups. When feasible, use well-lit thoroughfares. Please use buses and other safe transportation options. You can find out more at the Community Safety site; with our new TransLoc online bus tracker system, it is more convenient and safer than ever. And if you see anything suspicious or circumstances make you feel unsafe, call police at 911 or 773-702-8181.

In the coming days and weeks, we will be reaching out to specific University communities for further discussion. We expect safety to be a topic at house meetings, in conversations with Student Government and Graduate Council, and in outreach to other student groups. We will also be working with divisions and schools to make sure we are meeting the needs of faculty, staff and students.

If you have any questions, please let us know.