Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community:
As we begin a new academic year, I am writing to provide an overview of our safety initiatives, as well as resources and services that are available to you. I also want to outline the processes and protocols that guide how the Department of Public Safety (DPS) communicates about safety matters.
- As a result of COVID-19, DPS has added proactive patrols of campus and the surrounding area every day from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. to educate students on Cuomo’s executive order on social gatherings and the University’s Stay Safe Pledge. In addition, over the past week, many of our off-campus students may have received a visit from our partners sharing important health and safety information from the University. For more information, including frequently asked questions about our plans for the fall semester, visit Syracuse.edu/fall2020.
- During the Spring 2020 semester, we introduced residential community safety officers that are stationed in all residence halls 24 hours a day. As a reminder, all students are required to show their SU I.D. every time they enter their residence hall. Visitors to residence halls are prohibited this semester due to COVID-19.
- DPS continues to provide shuttle and walking escorts to ensure that members of the campus community arrive safely to their destinations. As such, the shuttle services are secondary resources to other established transportation methods, including Centro buses and the ’Cuse Trolley. The walking escort program operates daily from 10:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. and the shuttle escort service operates daily from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Escorts can be requested by calling 315.443.7233 (SAFE).
- The installation of additional neighborhood cameras was completed, which includes 11 strategically placed cameras in the near off-campus area.
- DPS has teamed up with the Student Association (SA) to plan a series of student focus groups which will be facilitated by a third-party partner selected by SA to get feedback on DPS. Further details, including how to sign up, will be shared in the upcoming weeks.
Existing Safety Strategies:
While your chances of being a victim of a crime are very low, it is still important to be aware of certain safety strategies while at Syracuse University.
- Always lock your windows and doors, even if you’re only going to be away from your room for a short period of time or while you’re sleeping at night. Criminals look for opportunities like an open window or unlocked door.
- Keep your stuff with you! Never leave cell phones, laptops, wallets or other valuables out of your sight—it only takes a few seconds for someone to walk away with them.
- Use a U-bolt locking device for your bicycle and register your bike with DPS.
- Never walk alone. Most street crime incidents occur at night and usually involve students walking alone or with just one other person. Utilize the expanded safety escort services, which include both walking and shuttle escorts.
- LiveSafe: Connecting with DPS is as easy as opening an app on your smartphone. With LiveSafe, you can call DPS or 911 in the event of an emergency, report tips including videos and pictures, or use the SafeWalk feature, which permits you to virtually share your location with friends as you walk to a destination. Download the app today!
- Run. Hide. Fight.: In the event of an active shooter situation, it’s important to be prepared. We created this video for you to understand the importance of these three words: Run. Hide. Fight.
The summary below provides valuable information about how and why DPS uses emergency notification and public safety messages, including how, when and via what channels we issue safety communications to our campus community.
When We Issue Broad Communications Across the Campus Community:
- When there is an active or imminent threat of physical danger to the campus community.
- When there is an active crime scene on or immediately adjacent to the campus and we need community members to avoid the area.
- When a perpetrator is at large on or immediately adjacent to the campus and we need the community’s help locating the individual.
When Broad Communications Will Not be Issued:
- When initial investigation into an incident indicates there is no continuing threat.
- When another law enforcement agency has jurisdiction or is the lead investigator on an active case, and we have been directed not to issue a notice. That agency may communicate to the broader public and direct us to inform our community.
- When communicating broadly will impede or jeopardize an active investigation. Please note: although it is our intention to communicate broadly any bias-related incident within 48 hours, we will always prioritize maintaining the integrity of an investigation, especially when we are following active leads.
Reporting a Crime or Bias Incident: Anyone with information warranting an Orange Alert or a public safety message is encouraged to report the incident to DPS by immediately calling 315.443.2224; toll-free 855.443.2224; 711 from a campus landline; or via the LiveSafe app. If you would like to anonymously report NON-EMERGENCY information to DPS, you can use the Silent Witness tool. To report a bias incident or to receive support, visit the STOP Bias website.
Bias Incidents: Last year, we introduced a new Bias Incident Reports webpage where we aggregate bias-related incidents. This page is updated and accessible to students, faculty, staff, parents and other community members. Bias-related incidents are posted to this page within 48 hours or sooner, unless posting will impede or jeopardize an active investigation. This channel will be your trusted source of accurate and reliable information moving forward. This protocol has been developed in partnership with law enforcement, which has advised the University against the repeated distribution of email notifications as they could motivate copycats.
Public Safety Messages (Timely Warnings): Public safety messages are distributed via email and posted on the DPS website and on DPS social media accounts. There are three types of messages:
- Public Safety Notice designates a timely warning related to an ongoing concern for violence.
- Public Safety Information designates a warning related to an ongoing property crime problem or about general safety-related information.
- Public Safety Update provides information regarding a threat that has passed or an update to a previously issued Public Safety Notice.
Public safety messages include information about the incident that triggered the warning in order to promote safety and enable members of the campus community to protect themselves from similar incidents. They are intended to inform the community of suspects at large or an ongoing threat to campus community members and to seek the community’s help in identifying suspects and gathering pertinent details. Follow-up information will be disseminated when appropriate and all alerts are posted online.
Emergency Notification and Response (Orange Alert): The Orange Alert system is designed to provide rapid notification and instructions to Syracuse University students, faculty and staff and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry students in the event of a verified crisis where there exists an immediate threat of serious physical harm. All DPS officers have the authority to activate the Orange Alert system if necessary.
Orange Alert utilizes email, text messaging, social media networks and cell/landline phone calls to send a brief notice about the incident and instructions about what actions to take. Additionally, sirens located on the Kenneth A. Shaw Quadrangle, Whitman School of Management building, Falk College complex and South Campus housing will sound in the event of an Orange Alert. After an Orange Alert message is broadcast, more detailed follow-up information will be provided through various means, including but not limited to the University’s website, University social media resources, email, phone, and campus radio and television resources.
Sign Up in MySlice: To receive the aforementioned communications, all students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to log in to MySlice to ensure their contact information for Orange Alert is up to date. Students may also enter their parents’ and families’ contact information by logging into MySlice.
My colleagues and I are always available to discuss our processes, protocols and how we collaborate with local, state and federal law enforcement to keep our campus community safe. Finally, remember that the Department of Public Safety is here for you 24/7 by calling 315.443.2224 or by connecting on the LiveSafe app.
Chief, Department of Public Safety