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image: Campus NewsUniversity police expands its patrols south of the Midway
As University staff, faculty, and students migrate south of the Midway into the Woodlawn area, the University police force is keeping pace. At a cost of $300,000 per year, the U of C plans on adding six officers to its roster of 115 to begin patrolling the area from Stony Island to Evans Avenues (one block west of Cottage Grove Avenue) and 61st to 64th Streets.

"Everyone seems to be in favor of it," says Rudolph Nimocks, executive director of the University Police Department. "It just needs to go through the City Council, and I can't think of any reason why they wouldn't approve it too." If the City Council gives the plan a thumbs up when it meets in late August, the department will begin the patrols in October.

Although the University has been considering the extended coverage for several years at the behest of local residents, it did not formally announce its intentions until after the plan received overwhelming support at a June 9 neighborhood meeting. The meeting, organized by Alderman Arenda Troutman (whose district includes the new patrol area), was attended by more than 200 members of the Woodlawn community. Joining Troutman on the dais were Nimocks, Chicago Police Superintendent Terry Hillard, and Woodlawn community leaders Bishop Arthur Brazier and the Rev. Leon Finney Jr.

Nimocks, a resident of Woodlawn since 1952, stressed to the audience that the University practices "community-oriented policing," which includes nighttime escort service from CTA stops, house monitoring for vacationing locals, and rapid response to calls-often arriving on the scene within four minutes. "One of the first and foremost reasons individuals choose communities is for the quality of public safety," says Henry Webber, the University's vice president for community and government affairs. "The University police have been an important part of making Hyde Park a very attractive neighborhood for many years, and we hope that by extending the police to the Woodlawn community, it can have the same benefits."

The expanded coverage comes on the heels of extensive media attention to campus safety since last October when the Department of Education introduced its Campus Security Statistics Web site (www.ope.ed.gov/security/), a collection of 1997-1999 crime statistics-including burglary, robbery, car theft, sexual assault, and others-from some 6,000 U.S. colleges and universities. The U of C fared well, noting single-digit figures in almost all of the categories.

The University did not do so well, however, in a separate report published by APBNews.com, a private citizens' Web site "devoted to crime, justice and safety," that assessed crime risk in neighborhoods near college campuses. When factoring in statistics within a two-mile radius of campus, Chicago was rated the 29th most dangerous of 1,497 four-year institutions measured. The report was decried by schools like Columbia University, the University of Southern California, and Chicago-all located in urban areas but boasting low on-campus crime rates-for making a campus look more dangerous than it is.


According to Webber, the report did not play a role in Chicago's decision to expand its police force into Woodlawn. "We did this to help contribute to the revitalization of Woodlawn. The leadership of the Woodlawn community has the clear goal of creating a mixed-income neighborhood with high standards. We want to support that effort."-C.S.


 


 AUGUST 2001

  > > Volume 93, Number 6


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