Keeping the university community safe continues to be the highest priority of everyone at the University of Houston. The recent incidents of crime on or near our campus are unsettling, and I share your deep concerns.
I have heard from many of you, as well as from parents and alumni, who have reached out to my office this week to express these concerns, and to ask many questions about what we are doing to make the University of Houston as safe as it can be. I want to respond to you as directly as I can by outlining the bold and decisive steps we are implementing to enhance our security measures.
The University of Houston Department of Public Safety, under the leadership of Chief Ceaser Moore, has today (Sept. 21) established a dedicated task force whose focus for the next 30 days will be investigating and solving the armed robberies that took place this week. This team will follow up on the solid investigative work already under way by investigators within the department who have been diligently pursuing all leads.
Along with this action, UHDPS will be hiring a full-time crime prevention officer who will be stationed in the M.D. Anderson Library and be accessible to faculty, staff and students. Five new supervisors and five new patrol officers were added to the UHDPS force this week, with a goal toward being a better, stronger and faster police department.
UHDPS also will be increasing and adjusting its patrol shifts to better safeguard parking lots and areas on the perimeter of campus, where these incidents took place. Communication and coordination with personnel who staff observation kiosks in campus parking lots also will be improved.
You can play an important role in taking care of yourself and of each other. I urge faculty, staff and students to verify and update your emergency contact information in PeopleSoft to ensure that you receive all important security alerts. We are especially interested in having cell phone numbers on file, since this allows text messaging, the most effective way for immediate communication when it is required. Students can find instructions for updating their contact information at: http://piersystem.com/go/doc/1093/155709/
Faculty and staff can find instructions at: http://piersystem.com/go/doc/1093/155718/
We are sharing with you a number of useful tips about what you can do to remain safe and secure on campus. Being attentive about your surroundings is a crucial first step. If you see something suspicious, report it immediately to UHDPS. If you feel unsafe, call the department and ask for assistance. And, remember, we have security escorts available to you, as well.
Together, we can make our campus as safe and secure as possible.