Public Safety: University of Chicago recent institutional and student initiatives

Safety home, latest, recent record,trend. Public Safety: providers, emergency contacts, tips, trends. HPKCC safety focus. HPKCC WhistleStop program. CAPS contacts, schedule, news, tips.

Meetings, seminars, workshops

October 30, 6 pm. There will be a panel discussion on improving area safety and security. Will include a panelist from HPKCC very active in CAPS. Stuart 102, 5835 S. Greenwood.

University of Chicago Police, Safety Office contacts and alert listserves

University of Chicago Police and Safety

(section updated Dec. 2007) University of Chicago Police 773 702 8181 (or 123 from campus phones) The UC Police now patrol south to 63rd- and north to 47th, soon to 39th- but not in Washington and Jackson parks. They have full police powers and are often able to respond more quickly than CPD. (Note: Park District Police may not have full police powers under every circumstance.) Push the Red Button on white emergency phones. UC Police respond to all 911 calls. Also 4-HELP from a regular campus phone or 834-HELP from other phone. 5555 S. Ellis, 60637. There are 150 officers, 80% of whom are off-duty city police. They claim a response time of 3 minutes. They are planning a state-of-the-art communications system for their new headquarters to be built at 61st and Drexel.

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

The Safety Awareness Alert system is an e-mail communication clearinghouse and system designed to provide factual information about certain crimes, crime statistics and patterns, prevention tips, announcements, policing information to help the community make prudent safety decisions. All crime reported to the University Police Department will be logged on the safety Web site each business day. The revamped web address is:

To subscribe (register) to receive alerts and tips automatically by e-mail follow this link:

The Emergency Notification System, called cAlert enables authorized University officials to reach members of the University community through mechanisms other than regular University e-mail and telephones. This new system can transmit short notifications by e-mail to any outside e-mail 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. The cAlert Emergency Notification System can send safety messages to an individual e-mail address, cell phone or other device. Visit to register.

Regular number 773 702-8190, Comments and suggestions about University security provisions and programs can be addressed to or

In fall 2008 the University Department of Transportation and Parking added on a pilot basis two evening (from 5 pm) inner circulator shuttles seven days a week, in addition to the existing evening routes (Central, North, and... ). They are available free to persons with UC ID (and an accompanying person without ID). They run 5 pm to midnight Sunday-Wednesday and 5 pm to 6 am Thursday through Saturday. Service "stops" are supposed to be every 12 minutes provided by 4 buses. These year-round routes are in addition to the CTA-UC routes, which are mostly daytime but some in the evening open to all who pay fare.
Phoenix Route: basically north south counterclockwise along Ellis, 60th, Woodlawn-59th-University and 55th back to Ellis.
Maroon Route: basically east west clockwise along 57th, Stony Island, 60th, and Cottage Grove back to 57th. Note that for staff as well as students this provides fast, safe routes to every bus route out of the neighborhood except (#10) and including four (+?) express routes including to downtown with access also to the Els and Metra.

Late Night Van Service 773 702-2022. Info:

SafeRide program 5 pm-6 am: 773 702-2022 (give precise address and have UC ID ready). info on this and evening buses: also

Umbrella: call 773 702-8181 or press red button on ephones. info:

More tips and crime information, statistics,

Safety and emergency resources from the Dean of students Office:
Student Counseling and Resource Service, 5747 S. University 773 702-9800
Campus minister, 773 702-7111
24-hour resources- 773 834-HELP
Counseling for faculty and staff- Perspectives, 5751 S. Woodlawn, 800 456-6327

UC Medical Center Emergency: 702-6250
Peds Emergency: 702-6269
Dean/Sexual Assault/Therapist on call-773 834-HELP (4357)
Resources for Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) 773 702-7200
Poison Control Center 800-942-5969

Student Care Center-routine 773 702-4156
SCC Nurse Advice 773 702-1915
Physician on call after hours 773 702-6840
Student Care Center 773 702-4156
Mitchell Emergency Room 773 702-6250
Primary Care Group Appointments 773 702-6840
Mental Health Counseling (SCRS) 773 702-9800
SCRS Therapist-on-Call 773702-3625

Committee on University Security 773 702-6815
Committee on Crime Prevention 773 702-8803

Sexual predators

South East Chicago Commission--773 324-6926- a suite of programs including Victim Assistance and court appearance.

University of Chicago emergency phones

The University will be adding five new phones along 47th Street and other locations in west Hyde Park (presently not covered) in summer 2006.

Push the red button! The phones thin out or are not deployed south of 62nd, west of Cottage except one by 61st, and northwest of diagonals running from about Cottage/54th through Hyde Park Blvd./Greenwood and west of Kenwood Park thence 51st/Blackstone and east of the tracks north of 5220 Cornell.


Institutional responses since the murder of October 2007

A broad committee was established on safety and security issues following a vicious murder fall 2007 of a graduate student near University housing on Ingleside south of 60th St. Some steps were made immediately and over the next few months and in the months after the committee's report in spring, 2008. Many students remained dissatisfied and expressed such at a succession of forums.

The University of Chicago and the City have teamed up with philanthropists to establish a research crime lab to find ways to develop interventions to reduce youth crime, especially gun violence. Jens Ludwig of SSA will lead in this focus on what costs about a hundred billion a year and snuffs out lives and communities.

In May 2008 President Zimmer announced campus safety initiatives. Following recommendations of a Campus and Security Committee and an outside consultant convened after a murder in 2007, recommendations include a new shuttle bus system,* walking escort service, daily crime report posting including a safety website, cameras and lighting, changes to the UC Police, better safety education and outreach. Changes will be implemented gradually and be modified as new dorms, facilities, etc. come on line.
This includes gradual streamlining of evening bus service and addition in fall 2008 of the Phoenix and Maroon close-in circulators (see in UC-CTA Routes page.).

The University of Chicago Police Department is expected so soon move into their new headquarters in the new parking facility at 61st and Drexel.

Details: U. of C. ups security in wake of crimes, November 2007 murder

Campus Safety and Emergency Alerts links are in the Public Safety page.

Note that the captured perpetrators did not come form the immediate area but many blocks west. And they were teens who decided they needed money so went out looking in Hyde Park and nearby because students were supposed to have money--they in fact got nothing or chump change from the three sets of victims that night. The University has held several focus groups, a memorial service and vigil, and a large rally on the Quads on this incident. Below is a report on one. We start with coverage of new security measures.

President Zimmer initiates new security measures across campus
University of Chronicle December 6, 2007.

In an e-mail message sent Monday, Nov. 27--one of several messages that President Zimmer has sent to the University community since the fatal shooting of amadou Cisse--the President reiterated that the University would continue to make campus security a top priority. He also updated the community about the actions that have been taken to strengthen campus safety.

In addition to permanently increasing police patrols on and around campus by 50 percent between 4 p.m. and midnight and more than doubling the police car presence after midnight, the University has established a police substation at 61st Street and Drexel Avenue. That facility will be staffed 24 hours a day and will provide a visible police presence south of the Midway Plaisance. The substation will operate until the University Police Department's new facility opens at that location in May 2008. A police substation will remain at the current headquarters at 56th Street and Ellis Avenue, once the new headquarters open in spring.

Two additional vans have been added to the University's SafeRide program, and the service has been expanded to begin at 5 p.m. Phone lines have also been added to ensure that callers will be able to reach a dispatcher to request a ride.

This on-demand van service is available Sunday through Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. for students and employees located in the University Police area of coverage (39th Street to 64th Street, Lake Shore Drive to Cottage Grove Avenue). Individuals should call (773) 702-2022 and give their precise address for pick-up, and have their University ID ready when boarding the bus. For more information about the SafeRide program or the University's evening bus service, please visit http://facilities, You may e-mail any questions, concerns or suggestions to

Anyone within the University Police coverage are 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.

For more information about this Umbrella coverage ad other personal safety programs, please call (773) 702-8181 or visit

to reach the UCPD in an emergency, dial (773) 702-8181 or press the read button on one of the emergency phones located in the area. For non-emergency requests, please call 773 702-8190. Suggestions on security enhancements in or around campus may be sent o

At the University implements these immediate measures, it also will undertake a sustained and comprehensive effort to improve campus safety, wrote Zimmer. " I am appointing a Working Group on Safety and Security composed of faculty, staff, students and community representatives to work intensively on a range of safety improvements," he noted.

Zimmer has appointed Kimberly Goff-Crews, Vice President and dean of Students in the University, and Rick Rosengarten, Dean of the Divinity School and current chair of he committee on Crime Prevention and Security on Campus and in the Neighborhood, to co-chair the group. It will review current security efforts, including policing, transportation, lighting and dissemination of information; solicit ideas for improving campus safety; and make recommendations about additional improvements.

The University also will consult with an external security firm, which wil conduct a thorough review of security measures and recommend any changes that might increase the University's effectiveness regarding safety.

"We also are working in partnership with City of Chicago officials, local elected officials, community leaders and residents to address the level of crime on the mid-South Side. we have extensive programs with our South Side community involving education, housing, jobs and other aspects inherent to a community that fosters a safe and secure environment. We will continue this work," wrote Zimmer.

[Note: Zimmer took a tour of the vicinity of the crime, including the new parking and office building at 61st and Drexel and ordered additional security equipment and measures.]


Hyde Park Herald, December 5, 2007. By Sam Cholke

Students gathered wednesday night a the McCormick Tribune Lounge to hear from University of Chicago administrates and police about on-campus security measures following the murder of student Amadou Cisse.

Rudolph Nimocks, chief of police and security services at the University of Chicago, provided an update on increased security measures on campus following the "tragic circumstances." Nimocks said police presence between East 55th and East 64th streets has been increased three fold since the recent string of crimes on East 61st street and South Ellis Avenue, including a mobile police substation on that corner.

Brian Shaw, director of campus transportation and parking services, said additional buses have been added to the late-night Safe Ride program. Additional vehicles are available to expand the service further, if demand warrants, he said. "Use spiked after the incident," Shaw said. Use of the service has nearly tripled. "Put the word out," Nimocks said. "Use all the transportation alternatives available."

Students expressed gratitude for having services like SafeRide available, but many worried that encouraging students to avoid walking around in the neighborhoods surrounding the campus could promote an irrational fear-- an "us vs them" mindset, as one student, Joe, said. [Ed. More likely is that the streets will become less safe for the lone walker if empty.] "It's not a problem of us vs. them. We've been working hard fo years to be in dialogue with the Woodlawn community," Nimocks said. "That attitude is all gone."

Shaw pointed to recent events, like the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, and services, like bus lines and parking available to residents and students alike, as helping link the university and the surrounding community.

Student Eve Ewing said services and events like those illustrated by Shaw and Nimocks were positive steps but did not foster an immediate relationship between students and residents. Ewing said her hope was t hat the Cisse murder would prompt more programs like the Neighborhood Schools Program (NSP), which helps students assist in school classrooms, community centers, and governmental offices. Ewing said prog drams like NSP help forge relationships between students and residents beyond the short-term contact that parking and community events offer. Ewing has worked in several neighborhood schools through NSP. She said she felt Cisse's murder would not change the attitude of those students already working in the community. "There are always going to be some who are fearful," Ewing said. "But people interested in working in Woodlawn wouldn't be dissuaded by this."

Kim Goff-Crews, vice-president and dean of students, was receptive to Ewing's comments and said the recently formed Working Group on Safety and Security would take her comments into consideration. Goff-Crews encouraged Ewing and other students with ideas on how to improve safety on campus to join the working group and bring their ideas to administrators. Top

Student views and initiatives

There have been several meetings, brown bags, and forums over the year since October, 2007. Some had overflow crowds, others were very poorly publicized or for other reasons had poor attendance.

Here is a report on a new student group seeking fresh approaches, fall 2008. Note: the present writer (GO) notes that there are usually people on the street on the main spines such as 57th, 55th until about 11, but stretches and the side streets, especially north-south, it gets very sparce.

Students hope to foster safer Hyde Park. Chicago Maroon, October 24, 2008. By Supriya Sinhababu

Students nervous about getting from Burton-Judson to Regents Park after Dark would most likely turn to SafeRide, not the University's Marketplace website. On Sunday night, however, between listings for ride-sharing and babysitting, was a post titled "Are you tired of being afraid to go out at night in Hyde Park?" The question was posted by Angela Bailey, a first-year graduate student at the School of Social Administration (SSA).

"Things like 'safe ride' and the 'umbrella system' are helpful in helping students avoid becoming the victims of violence but in many ways they are also just band-aids for what is a much bigger problem," bailey wrote in the ad. "I'm interested in starting a comprehensive campaign to make Hyde Park safer at night for everyone who lives here. Imagine how wonderful it would be if you could bo out alone to Walgreens at 3 a.m. without being afraid."

Currently in its preliminary stages, the campaign will begin as an SSA-based group that will meet for the first time next week. Bailey has broad goals, such as increasing foot traffic around Hyde Park and diminishing tensions between the University and community, and she has specific ideas, such as asking businessmen to to lengthen their hours at night. She said she eventually hopes to channel the interest of other University and community members into the campaign.

Kate Elliott, a first-year SSA student who responded to Bailey's ad and has also taken a leadership role in the campaign, agreed with Bailey's belief that residents' general fear of walking the streets after dark aggravates Hyde Park's safety issues."The problem with Hyde Park tends to be that everything shuts down at eight p.m. or 10:00 p.m. at the latest, so besides Jimmy's there's nothing to do an nothing open -- so why would anyone go out anyway?" Elliott said. [Actually, there are more open later including Medici, Chant and Checkerboard].

Bailey, who grew up in Harlem, said that she had n ever felt unsafe in New York City and that she had not expected such a significant shift shift in her feelings of safety in Hyde Park. She was also surprised by the disparity in the volume of foot traffic between New York City and Chicago, even on the North Side. "There might be some places in the boroughs [of New York City] where I wouldn't feel comfortable going, but the large part of the city is accessible to everyone," she said. "but even at nine o'clock on State Street and Balbo, it's desolate. you cant' even believe those businesses were open a few hours earlier and were crowded."

Bailey feels this difference might have its roots in the sharp racial and socioeconomic disparities among Chicago's neighborhoods. "New York City has some problems with that as well, but I've never seen segregation so clear-cut as I've seen it in Chicago," Bailey said. "Segregation scares me because it makes me feel like everyone's not welcome in every part of the city."

Bailey received about 20 responses to her posting. She said about half the responses were optimistic and supportive of her cause, an about half were skeptical that a difference could be made. "a lot of people saying "this is important, I want to help, what are your ideas?" she said. "It seems like a lot of people are interested in helping, but no one knows what to do."

Three respondents, she said, suggested gentrification or displacement of non-white residents as a solution to the neighborhood's safety problems. "When I made my posting, a lot of people assumed that just because a lot of people at the U of C ar white, I was white," said Bailey, who is black. "Some of the things they said -- I'm glad I got to hear them." Bailey said she wrote back to the respondents asking them to consider whether gentrification might be part of the safety problem, but she did not overlook their desire to be involved. "three people basically saying that they're afraid of people of color," she said. "And out of that fear come statement like 'they are the problem.' What I responded back was, 'you're welcome to be involved, but it's the type of campaign where you're going to have to check your biases at the door.'"

Bailey and Elliott both said their effort would seek the help of many other neighborhood institutions. "We want to talk to the police department, the University of Chicago Police department, the alderman, and store owners to create some kind of program to promote people going out," Elliott said.

Bob Mason, executive director for the South East Chicago Commission, a Hyde Park organization that tracks crime statistics, agreed that having more crowded streets would bed conducive to safety. "We'd love to see more people on the street because the way the individuals who commit these crimes generally operate is they drive around the neighborhood, looking for people walking down the street where nobody's around," Mason said. He also believes that increasing foot traffic has its limits in promoting overall safety. "If we had more entertainment venues on 53rd Street, we'd probably be able to get more people to go out," Mason said. "But on the side streets and residential areas, you're not going to get people out there at all hours o the night -- and that's all over the city, over all urban areas. That's why, realistically, we have to find other solutions like SafeRide and the umbrella service."

Bailey believes that programs like safeRide improve safety for students by fail to reduce students' and residents' fears of their own neighborhood. "I think the University really does care about student safety, but the way they're dealing with it, with these Band-Aids, is not entirely productive." she said.

Elliott agreed that safety-related fears are a problem in themselves, saying that such fears have compelled many students, especially graduate students, to seek housing outside the neighborhood. Bailey feels that many people simply accept the safety situation as unalterable, never thinking about how it could be fundamentally changed. "I hear women -- really strong women who considers themselves feminists -- who are afraid to go out," Bailey said. "While SafeRide and the umbrella system are helping individual people, they're not helping us not feel afraid. And I think it's debilitating to live in fear."