Resources to stay safe on campus

By Jessie Wang, Assistant News Editor

Although going to college often leads to a host of memories — new friends, opportunities and career paths — it’s important to stay vigilant. The Daily Illini has created a guide to the many safety resources available on campus. 


University of Illinois Police Department

The University of Illinois rests between two cities: Champaign and Urbana. The University of Illinois Police Department, part of the University’s Division of Public Safety, has jurisdiction over campus. Last April, UIPD officially adopted jurisdiction over Campustown

According to Pat Wade, senior spokesperson of the department, the UIPD is tailored to the needs of a college campus and operates year round. The UIPD is also fully accredited and provides patrol services, emergency response and investigative resources.

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Furthermore, the Community Outreach and Support Team provides educational and community programming, including therapy dogs for campus events. 

Within COAST, the Response, Evaluation and Crisis Help initiative pairs mental health professionals with police officers, providing a co-response model to mental health-related emergencies, Wade said. 

In addition, because forceful sexual offenses are the most common crimes to be reported on college campuses according to the National Center for Educational Statistics in 2019, UIPD specially trains detectives in the Investigation Unit to support survivors of sexual assault. 

“The mission of the University of Illinois Division of Public Safety is to promote a safe and secure environment where education, research and public service can flourish,” Wade said. “When crime does happen, it is our goal to identify and apprehend offenders as quickly as possible.”



The Illini-Alert is a system where emails and text messages are sent to the campus community when incidents that present an anticipated threat to life, health or safety occur. All campus members automatically receive Illini-Alerts to their Illinois email accounts.

Anyone can opt into Illini-Alert text messages by texting “IlliniAlert” to 226787. 



Because criminals are more likely to target individuals who are alone at night, the UIPD offers SafeWalks to University students, faculty and staff. Through the SafeWalks program, Student Patrol officers escort the caller to their destination. The UIPD also recommends that students stay together in groups to reduce the risk of being targeted. 

SafeWalks operates from 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Sunday to Wednesday, and 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. SafeWalks escort can be requested by calling 217-222-1216. 


Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District SafeRides

SafeRides, offered by MTD, is a service meant for people traveling alone, or in very small groups, late at night to destinations not on a fixed route bus service, according to Amy Snyder, chief of staff at MTD. 

Those interested in requesting a SafeRide may do it via the app or call 218-384-8188. If the trip qualifies under the parameters — the place of origin and destination — then they will get approved. 

“(If) your origin and destination is already on a bus route, we’re going to have you take the bus, because we want to get to people who are in isolated locations as quickly as we can,” Snyder said. 

Snyder cites Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays as the highest volume days and said that wait times on those respective days may last from 30 to 60 minutes.

“SafeRides are not fast rides … this isn’t Uber or Lyft, where you just pop in the queue,” Snyder said. “SafeRides is for people who are kind of out on the fringes.”


UIPD General Safety Tips

  • Trust your instincts. If a situation or location is making you uncomfortable, leave immediately and seek people and places with lights, if possible. 
  • Lock your doors, even if you are in the room. In order to prevent theft, one of the most common crimes to occur on campuses, the best thing individuals can do is to secure their belongings and their residences. 
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Music or phone usage may distract from nearby vehicles or people.
  • Watch out for scams. College students, especially international college students, are often targeted online or by phone. Scammers often know background information about their targets and appear legitimate. Stay alert and watch out for red flags.


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