New mandate follows rising number of crimes around the Chicago campus
Following a string of robberies on or near campus the Lincoln Park campus, DePaul University initiated a plan to tighten security. Part of the plan requires students, faculty, and staff to carry their DePaul ID at all times on campus.
“Public safety officers will have the authority to remove anyone from a DePaul building who cannot demonstrate they are a faculty, staff, student, invited guest or welcomed visitor,” says Rob Manuel, DePaul President in a statement about the new campus safety actions. “In alignment with this university policy, all public safety officers will be required to complete sensitivity training on a regular basis to mitigate the likelihood of racial or ethnic profiling.”
In one exercise, students attached stickers to a campus map, with different colors indicating areas where they felt safe and where they felt vulnerable. The result was a bit like a heat map that can be used to compare the infrastructure at safe vs. vulnerable areas
Of course, there are differing opinions on the value of this mandate. According to an article from Block Club Chicago, some students have expressed that it will make them feel safer, but others point out that the crimes have not occurred inside campus buildings but rather in areas around the campus.
In addition to the new ID requirements, the university is taking other steps.
They are increasing the number of security officers and the presence after dark and on weekends. The number of security vehicles patrolling overnight will also be increased. The Chicago Police Department has committed to increase its presence around campus.
An additional van and driver are being added to the existing public safety escort service, and the institution is working to develop subsidized rideshare options with Lyft and Uber.
Upgrading lighting in key areas is underway, and Housing and Residence Life will provide safety training in each residence hall.
Crime on and around the urban campus is not new. At the start of the fall 2023 term, DePaul held a Campus Safety Summit to allow constituents to share ideas on safety concerns and solutions.
In one exercise that could be replicated by other institutions, students attached stickers to a campus map, with different colors indicating areas where they felt safe and where they felt vulnerable. The result was a bit like a heat map that can be used to compare the infrastructure at safe vs. vulnerable areas. For the vulnerable areas, solutions from lighting to cameras and guards to call boxes can be evaluated.
Crime is a growing problem at virtually every college campus so anything that can be gleaned from the work at one institution can be of benefit to others.