Since my days as a professor and now as your president, I take pride in putting students at the center of all that we do. Indeed, you are the reason we are here, and a day doesn’t go by without me asking how we can make your student experience even better.
Several of you have shared with me that you feel unsafe when traveling to and from UC’s surrounding neighborhoods, especially in light of the two violent robberies that occurred earlier this week.
I want you to know that I hear your concerns, I care deeply about your well-being and I am taking the lead in stepping up the University’s efforts to keep you safe and secure.
Since taking office last fall, I have met monthly with the University of Cincinnati Police Department (UCPD), the Cincinnati Police Department (CPD), the Institute of Crime Science (ICS) and leaders from Student Government and the Graduate Student Association — as well as other stakeholders — to discuss the best ways to reduce crime and promote safety on campus and within the surrounding communities. This unprecedented level of coordination has resulted in several new investments and key successes, including the development of a strategic plan for public safety. To review the plan and provide us with your feedback, please visit http://besafe.uc.edu/strategic-plan/
Thanks to the highly collaborative, data-driven efforts of these campus leaders and community partners the Part 1 crime rate in UC’s surrounding neighborhoods is down 35% since 2012. The victimization rate for our students is down 54% since 2012, including a 93% reduction in robberies.
I fully realize that such figures, even when trending in the right direction, are of little comfort when you or your peers are victims of crime or when you generally feel unsafe. That’s why we must continue to do more.
Earlier today I authorized the hiring of additional off-duty police officers to further supplement increased patrols within targeted areas of concern.
Specifically, we will extend the frequency of these increased patrols from 4 to 7 days per week. Additionally, we will increase the number of off-duty police officers in this detail from 8 to 13. This effort to enhance and expand a visible police presence within UC’s surrounding neighborhoods—which is in addition to the normal police presence—will continue for the foreseeable future.
As a comprehensive university located within an urban setting, we must acknowledge that crime is a reality that we cannot fully eradicate. But recognition is not resignation. We will not allow crime to debase the quality of life at UC. We will be resilient in our drive and relentless in our focus. Even so, we need your help.
If you see suspicious behavior or unsafe conditions, please contact UCPD at 556-1111. If you need a safe way to travel, please take advantage of the NightRide program by dialing 556-RIDE or the Bearcats Transportation System. To access safety tips and learn more about UC’s public safety initiatives, please visit our “Be Smart, Be Safe” website referenced above.
In closing, let me say that equally important as providing you with a quality education is doing so in a safe and secure environment that will enable you to live, learn and grow. You have my word that public safety will remain a top priority for my administration.
Santa J. Ono