Safety: Current Actions and FAQs

The University took important steps at the start of the 2021-22 academic year to enhance safety on and near our campus, with input from our campus and local community. In collaboration with the Chicago Police Department (CPD), the University is also now taking several short- and longer-term actions within the University of Chicago Police Department’s (UCPD) extended patrol area. Many of these actions were summarized in the 2022 Spring Safety Update and include: 

  • Hiring a new Chief of Police, Kyle Bowman, who joined the University on April 4.

  • Formalizing improved connectivity and collaboration with CPD, including joint patrols to help prevent violent crime and more effectively serve the safety needs of our campus, medical center, and neighborhoods.

  • Increasing UCPD strategic foot and vehicular patrols on and near campus, including directed patrols focused on robbery reduction and traffic enforcement missions focused on traffic safety. 

  • Expanding our campus safety ambassador program to increase the hours and locations of coverage for on-campus safety ambassador locations. This includes the addition of “green light” safety ambassador cars that patrol on and around campus seven days a week.

  • Increasing the use of security cameras and license plate readers on campus, and in partnership with the City of Chicago and CPD, in nearby neighborhoods. The University recently informed the city of our intention to donate funds that will allow the city to deploy additional cameras and license plate readers in the extended patrol area.

  • Expanding our Lyft Ride Smart program for students to seven nights a week with extended hours through the end of the 2021-22 academic year. 

  • Improving service hours for the UGo NightRide shuttle service as well as improved wait times on the UGo South Route. For more details, visit the transportation service enhancements webpage.

  • Implementing a strategic operations center that will allow the UCPD to make real-time and proactive adjustments to police and security deployments while improving emergency communications. We are now in phase one of the launch and enhancements to the center will continue throughout the remainder of the academic year. 

  • Creating a Victim Services Unit that will provide advocacy and support for the victims of serious crimes in UCPD’s patrol area.

  • Launching a Public Safety Advisory Council, which will engage campus and community members to provide input and feedback on the University’s safety and security efforts.

  • CPD is permanently assigning more officers to the CPD district that includes the Hyde Park area.

  • Yes. Beginning the afternoon of November 9, 2021, the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) increased foot and vehicular patrols on and near campus and throughout Hyde Park. As part of this effort, UCPD and CPD are conducting joint robbery-directed patrols based on current crime trends and both agencies are increasing traffic enforcement in areas of high pedestrian traffic. CPD has committed to add a significant number of officers this week to the 2nd District (where the University of Chicago is located).

    • Yes. The Chicago Police Department (CPD) will be temporarily adding additional Police Observation Device (POD) camera technology to the Hyde Park area. These remote-controlled cameras are monitored by CPD officers in District stations and aid in deterring crime, identifying suspects, and making arrests.

      While POD cameras are a temporary solution, the University is working with CPD and local alderman to develop a long-term strategy for adding permanent technology solutions to the areas surrounding campus, consistent with best practices and guidelines for such technology.


      • The Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the University’s Department of Safety & Security (DSS) are working together to develop a long-term strategic plan to address the rise in crime, including gun violence, plaguing the communities surrounding the University. 

        In a November 17 webinar, the University announced it is implementing additional strategies, including the creation of a 24-hour UCPD strategic operations center that will allow UCPD to make real-time and proactive adjustments to police and security deployments while also improving emergency communications.

        The University will be sharing information about a new Violence Prevention Initiative in the near future. We are currently seeking input from University and civic stakeholders on how to make the initiative most impactful for our shared community.

         
        • Partnership with the City of Chicago, local aldermen, and community leaders is an important part of the University’s plan for crime reduction in the short and long term.


          • UCPD investigators worked closely with Chicago Police Department (CPD) detectives to provide CPD with camera footage and data from University-managed cameras and License Plate Readers to help investigate recent crimes near campus.  On Friday, November 12, CPD announced that it arrested a suspect for the murder of UChicago alumnus Shaoxiong “Dennis” Zheng, who was shot during a robbery attempt near campus. The University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) assisted CPD in the investigation and will continue to support these efforts.



            • You can find a summary of recent actions in the Spring Safety Update sent to members of the University community. 

              • The University held a safety webinar with University leaders on November 11, and a second webinar with Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown on November 17. The November 17 event highlighted new strategies the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) are implementing to enhance safety, including increased patrols in the area, a 24-hour UCPD strategic operations center, increased use of security cameras and license plate readers, additional transportation options for the University community, and expanded coordination between the University and city police departments.



                • Yes. The Department of Safety & Security (DSS) manages approximately 350 emergency blue light phones throughout the UCPD patrol area as well as a large number of security cameras on and around campus. Cameras are in exterior as well as interior locations, following best practices and guidelines for their use in preventing crime and identifying suspects in crimes that have been committed. DSS also manages dozens of fixed license plate readers or (LPR) cameras at major vehicular thoroughfares and intersections in and adjacent to university property – these devices have aided in the solving of numerous crimes. All new UCPD cars are outfitted with mobile LPR technology that are deployed throughout the patrol area. The University also has more than 3,600 card access points within University buildings.



                  • The University recently launched a new safety portal that has valuable tips for staying safe in the city, around campus, where you live and work, while using transportation.

                    Additionally, the Department of Safety & Security (DSS) works closely with units across the University, including Campus and Student Life and Housing & Residence Life, to provide safety programming for students, faculty, and staff. Upon request, DSS can offer specific training to units and groups on campus. UCPD offers Residential Security Assessments for anyone living in a private residence in the UCPD patrol area.

                    DSS also offers self-defense classes. For more information or to sign up, visit the DSS website.

                     
                    • Visit transportation.uchicago.edu for information on the University’s shuttle system, Lyft Ride Smart, local and university subsidized CTA routes, real-time information on shuttles and buses, and more. For information about recent transportation improvements, visit the transportation service enhancements webpage