Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Notes from the UC Campus Safety Summit

From President Ono:

Earlier this week [late November] I hosted a Campus Safety Summit here at UC.  Local law enforcement officials, including Cincinnati’s Chief of Police and the Captains of Police Districts Four and Five, and representatives from city government and the Uptown Consortium joined UC’s senior leadership, including the Chief of Public Safety and the Chair of the Board of Trustees, for a candid conversation on how we, working together, can improve our ability to prevent crime and promote safety both on campus and in the surrounding communities.  To ensure that student perspectives remain front and center, we were joined by the President of the Undergraduate Student Government, the President and Vice President of the Graduate Student Government and a representative from the Student Safety Board.

Perhaps our biggest lesson learned from the Campus Safety Summit is that communication, coordination and long-term planning are essential.  Thus I have secured commitments from each participant to elevate this group to a standing committee (the President’s Campus Safety Committee) that will meet regularly for the foreseeable future.  All of us agree that the safety of our campus community is a pressing priority that requires our highest level of attention, engagement and collaboration.

Several promising ideas and initiatives emerged from this first meeting.  Here are a few concrete examples.

  • Starting on January 1, 2013, UCPD will increase the number of officers on patrol by 30%.

  • UCPD and CPD will collaborate with the Uptown Consortium and the University of Cincinnati Institute of Crime Science (ICS) to standardize the collection, analysis and dissemination of crime data.  This will enable us to develop more and better data-driven solutions to safety and security.
  • UC’s Advisory Committee on Public Safety (ACOPS) and the Student Safety Board will work with CPD to develop a “Students on Patrol” program modeled on the “Citizens on Patrol” program.  
  • CPD is exploring the feasibility of reassigning district boundaries within and around UC to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Student orientation will now include a joint presentation by UCPD and CPD on how students can best protect themselves and promote safety. 
  • UCPD and CPD will enhance and expand its educational outreach to international students.
  • CPD and the City will generate a cost estimate for increasing lighting, signage and other environmental assets in certain neighborhoods. 
  • UCPD will study the impact of using of a mobile substation to increase its presence and vis Labels ibility in targeted areas.
  • The Student Safety Board will develop a proposal to expand the Bearcat Transportation System to include designated routes to and from popular student destinations.
  • UCPD, CPD, ACOPS and the Student Safety Board will work together to design and implement a robust social media strategy for promoting safety.
  • The President’s Campus Safety Committee will engage UC’s criminal justice faculty—who have built one of the most widely recognized and respected programs in the world—in the planning process.  

Although we made significant progress, by no means is our work done.  Campus safety remains a top priority for my administration. 

In closing, let me be clear in saying that good ideas and initiatives will get us only so far.  Equally important is for each of us to take reasonable steps to promote safety.  That means being acutely aware of our surroundings at all times; proactive in our reporting of suspicious behavior; and increasingly knowledgeable of the safety-related resources, service and programs at our disposal.  Clearly, UC’s setting within an urban environment will not change; however, we can, wherever possible, positively influence our surrounding communities by being aware and proactive.

Please join me in thanking our public safety department and local law enforcement for their steadfast commitment to keeping our campus community safe and secure.  With all of us working together, I am confident that we can build an even better UC.

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