CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – It’s the first week for students at the U of I. As they get used to their class schedules, meeting new people, and gaining independence behind the scenes, U of I police are working to keep them safe.
“A lot of things are happening, a lot of different deterrent methods. And that’s anywhere from being as visible as we can on ATVs, bicycles, foot patrols, motorcycles, so that people will see us. We’re resourceful, and they feel a little safer when they know security is around to be present,” Alice Cary, UIPD Chief, said.
For many students, it’s working.
“I’ve felt very safe in my first week here, I’ve never met anyone threatening or anything like that,” Gretel Wurdack, a freshman, said.
“I feel pretty safe, I always keep my phone on me and other items just in case something were to happen,” Kate Miller, a freshman, said.
Over the weekend, a 20-year-old was taken to the hospital after being shot near campus on Green St. U of I police say they are working to beef up security.
Already, they have more than 2,000 cameras on and around campus, but they’re working to add more. Police chief Alice Cary said they’re also working to get license plate readers. All of these steps are to help fight and solve crime.
“Knowing that we’re doing everything possible to ensure that we maintain a safe and secure campus,” Cary said.
In the meantime, Miller and Wurdack both said they have ways to stay safe.
“Stay in groups of at least four or more,” Miller said.
“I would definitely say, know your schedule, and look up your bus that you need to take. Meet as many people as you can because you never know when someone can walk with you,” Wurdack said.
U of I police also has the safewalk and saferide program. You can request a peer in the program to walk you from point A to point B, and get you there safely. Or call for a ride from the Champaign-Urbana mass transit district. Of course, the police department is available 24/7.