In order to make the campus a safer place to live, study, and work, the University of Illinois Division of Public Safety is continuously working to properly respond to the crime and disorder issues that face the campus community.
While the Division of Public Safety has worked to improve its response to crime in the campus area, the members of the Division rely heavily on the support of the community to reduce the opportunities for crimes to occur. The effort for each member of the community is minimal: a willingness to be aware and involved is all that is required to make the campus even safer. For those members of the community who choose to take a more active role, the Division will continue to partner directly with them and their respective units in providing greater educational opportunities surrounding safety.
We are working on several new initiatives, as well as continuing the development of existing programs, to better respond to issues that affect public safety on our campus:
We continue to hire new officers to increase our staffing. Since the last update, we have hired six new officers. Two are currently in the academy and two in Field Training prior to going onto solo patrol. This increased number allows our patrol division to increase its presence on foot and bicycle. Several of our officers completed the International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA) course and provide patrol capabilities in areas that cannot be reached by vehicle.
A combination of foot, bicycle, Sentinel, and vehicle patrol capabilities helps our department to best serve the immediate needs of the community. Those cases that require further investigation are turned over to our detectives. All officers work together in order to attack various crime trends that affect the quality of life and safety of our students.
In September 2011, we received funds from the US Department of Justice COPS Office to develop a Crime Prevention and Analysis Unit. The funding pays the salaries and benefits for three officers over a period of three years. In July, 2012, the unit fully came online. Two crime prevention specialists and a crime analyst will provide the campus community better educational and problem-solving opportunities. These officers will also develop resources that the police department and community can use to improve quality of life issues that contribute to crime.
In May 2011, several UIPD officers and community members received their certifications to be Rape Aggression Defense Systems instructors. These instructors will help increase the number of women who will have an opportunity to take a comprehensive self-defense class. We also increased the number of people who can teach the RAD for Men course to target the half of the population that is most likely to become a victim of a stranger-on-stranger assault.
The community and police partnership is key to crime prevention. While the police often respond to crimes, a greater impact can be made through the 50,000 sets of eyes and ears that patrol the campus on a daily basis. We encourage members of the community to reduce the risk for crime to occur by taking steps as simple as properly locking and securing a door and keeping valuables in places that are not easily accessible. When community members make an impact on the opportunity for crime to occur, there is a greater chance that crime will be reduced.
We will continue to provide educational programs to student, faculty, staff, and community members who request them. In order to request a presentation, please visit police.illinois.edu/universitypolice/programs.html.
Student Patrol and SafeWalks
Student Patrol Officers will continue to provide the SafeWalks service throughout the campus district. In order to request a SafeWalks escort between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. (3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday), an individual who would otherwise find himself or herself walking alone should call 217-333-1216.
The use of technology to enhance safety continues. At the start of the Fall 2011 semester, over 500 cameras were on-line. We continue to expand the program throughout campus. At the start of the Fall 2012 semester, we had approximately 800 cameras online. We continue to use the cameras to develop offender information as a result of images provided through the use of the security cameras. We are working with the Champaign and Urbana Police Departments to analyze the best positions for these cameras based on crime trends in areas where students live and travel. The University of Illinois, Champaign, and Urbana Police Departments are fully participating in the crimereports.com pinpoint crime map. Community members who are interested in keeping up with reported crimes in the campus area can sign up for the service and stay abreast of the crime issues.
Information on new alert (RAVE) system
The RAVE system, which we rolled out last fall and still call "Illini Alerts," offers a proven and reliable mechanism to disseminate emergency information to the campus community. Text, email, web alert, Twitter and Facebook will be utilized to disseminate simultaneous emergency messages during a campus emergency. The Facebook page for Illini Alert is http://www.facebook.com/illinialert. The Twitter account can be monitored by following @IlliniAlert. Those who have enrolled in the prior version of “Illini-Alert” do not need to register for the new system. Information regarding registration can be found by visiting emergency.illinois.edu or www.cites.illinois.edu/illinialert
Campus Security Authority Training
During the past school year, the campus has worked to identify the federally-mandated Campus Security Authorities (CSAs). The University of Illinois Police encourages all members of the campus community to report crimes to us on a timely basis. The CSAs are required to report Clery Act qualifying crimes which occurred on campus, in public areas bordering campus and in certain non-campus buildings owned or controlled (leased) by the University. The intent of including non-law enforcement personnel in the CSA role is to acknowledge that some community members and students, in particular, may be hesitant about reporting crimes to the police, but may be more inclined to report incidents to other campus-affiliated individuals. This information is included in our Annual Security Report so that students and community members can make educated choices about their safety.
We have developed training so that the over-600 identified CSAs can best respond to those who may want to report crime to them. We continue to provide in-person training to those units that request it, and are working on getting a formal online training to which CSAs can refer to at any time. For more information regarding the Clery Act and Campus Security Authorities, visit police.illinois.edu/cleryact/index.html.
The Division of Public Safety is fortunate to have the support of the campus community and neighboring law enforcement agencies in its efforts to facilitate a safer environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors. Many of the initiatives listed above could not have been realized without the assistance from our campus partners. Safety and risk reduction continues to be everyone’s responsibility. The Division of Public Safety is working to facilitate a greater understanding of safety issues for community members. Through an increased awareness of the issues surrounding crime and other quality of life concerns, community members will be more empowered to take a stand against criminal activity. We only ask that community members take the time to get involved when they notice suspicious behavior. A simple call to the police by dialing 911 could help someone who is in need of assistance. It could also stop a crime problem before it starts.