Forum: Campus safety is a community responsibility

The University of Texas at Austin takes campus safety and security very seriously. We have created an entire department for this purpose. But in reality, campus safety and security is the responsibility of every member of the campus community.  

The University has developed a significant system to provide a safe and secure environment. We have 67 fully commissioned police officers that protect the campus. We have a wide range of communication systems to notify and alert the campus community. These systems include a text messaging system, University-wide email, a siren alert system, Reverse 911, emergency alert communications in many buildings and links to social media, to name a few. We will get important safety and security information to you. We will notify you if there is a threat to campus. But understand that this is, in reality, a city of 70,000 residents. There are events occurring on campus every day that require first responders to react, but not all are a threat to campus. Trust that we will handle each event individually and relay to you important information.  

What we would like to emphasize is that you are the most critical and vital link to campus safety and security. We rely on you to alert us when you see something suspicious, and we encourage you to take responsibility for being aware of your surroundings and protecting yourself and your belongings as you can. We have developed a Be Safe website that everyone should visit and take to heart. The tips page is very important to campus safety and security.  

Avoid walking alone. Walk in pairs or groups.

Lock-Take-Hide: Lock your vehicle, take your belongings with you and hide contents in your car.

ALWAYS lock your apartment/home/dorm room, even if you are only leaving for a few minutes. Lock your door when you are home.

CALL 911 ANYWHERE if you:

See or experience anything that appears to be a threat to you or others.

See an act of violence or anyone in jeopardy.

Are verbally harassed or assaulted.

Need an officer for any reason.

CALL 311 if you are off campus and see:

A broken window/crumbling sidewalk/human waste on the sidewalk or alley/structural damage/graffiti.

Water leaking or broken pipes/sprinklers.

Instead of giving money to strangers, give to charities who assist those in need.

Campus safety and security is everyone’s job and business. Join us in keeping UT-Austin safe and secure. Be safe out there, Longhorns!

Dr. Bob Harkins is the Associate Vice President for Campus Safety and Security.