SafeHorns competes for prize money to build police call boxes in West Campus

Brooke Ontiveros

SafeHorns, a nonprofit UT safety advocacy program, entered to win the $10,000 grand prize from Tiff’s Treats 21st Anniversary charity competition to contribute to their goal of building six police call boxes in West Campus. 

The contest began on Jan. 1 and will close Jan. 31. Every time a customer uses the unique code from one of the over 300 charities in the competition, 10% of the profits from their order goes back to the charity. Codes can be redeemed at any Tiff’s Treats location in the United States. The winner with the most redemptions will be selected on Feb. 7 and receive an extra $10,000. 

“The feedback (about the competition) from even the people who are not winners of the grand prize is tremendous because some of these organizations are very small, so every bit counts,” said Jeff Sartor, Tiff’s Treats executive president of marketing. 

Tiff’s Treats hosted a similar contest for their 20th anniversary last year, and SafeHorns won a $20,000 cash prize, which they have saved to go toward the police call boxes, SafeHorns president Joell McNew said. McNew said SafeHorns is waiting to use the money until the logistics, such as cost and location, of the project are settled. 

McNew said her organization wants to earn enough money to build six police boxes in West Campus because it has the densest population of students. McNew plans to work with the Austin Police Department to find the best places to construct the call boxes.

“(West Campus) leads in EDP calls, which are emotionally disturbed persons,” McNew said. “Based upon data, I asked (Austin Police Department) to give us a starting place for where we could look to put them. The first area is in the Artist Market.”

The $10,000 prize money will be enough to cover two police call boxes. One wall-mounted call box costs around $4,400, McNew said. The call boxes SafeHorns wants to build are different than the $7,000 police poles on campus, McNew said. The police poles have attached cameras that allow for surveillance, unlike the wall-mounted ones.

“Obviously, if we had more money, we would install them,” McNew said. “If we had more money, we would also include North Campus.”


If enough individuals use SafeHorns’ code, SAFEHORN20, SafeHorns will try to install the first police call box by the fall semester of 2020.

“There are currently 22,000 students in (West Campus),” McNew said. “The safety issues that are concerning and causing fear to students are impacting their quality of life, and we want to make sure that we do everything we can while students (are here), if we can work together to add more and keep improving safety.”

Marketing sophomore Chloe Baker created a petition last semester calling for the University to add more police call boxes and improve lighting in West Campus. She said SafeHorns has fought hard for student safety.

“Any amount of safety measure added to West Campus — whether it’s small, large — any amount makes students feel safer,” Baker said. “Although only two call boxes in such a large geographical area would be a small difference, any difference is a great difference.”