The urban scene
The Hyde Park area is a wonderfully diverse community. The University helps make it a destination for visitors from all over the country and the world; its businesses make it a major shopping center for the South Side of Chicago. Stately private homes, subsidized housing, and high-rise private apartment buildings share the tree-lined blocks.
The streets of Chicago are filled with people of all racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds, and they rub shoulders in the hundreds of museums, theaters, restaurants, clubs, shops, public parks, gardens, and more. If you are a newcomer, or new to urban life, this vibrant mix will present some unfamiliar situations. As you learn how to enjoy and become part of the community and the city, keep basic safety rules in mind.
As you travel around the city, you'll learn "street smarts." As you learn, trust your instincts. If you feel threatened, get out of the situation; if someone approaches you and seems too aggressive in asking you to help them in some way, be on your guard. Your safety must come first, even if you feel discourteous.
Learning about resources for safety
Keeping yourself safe means making informed choices. You need to get familiar with the resources—on campus, in the neighborhood, and in the City of Chicago—that help prevent crime.
- Get a copy of the University publication Common Sense. Read it. Save it. Common Sense is loaded with tips and information about protective services, safe means of transportation on and off campus, and how to live in the big city. It's also on the Web at commonsense.uchicago.edu.
- Watch for presentations on security and crime prevention. Attend them.
- Visit the Community Safety Web site to find information about Security Alerts, the cAlert Emergency Notification System, the University Police, and more.
- Make yourself aware of the difficult problem of nonconsensual sex: The student peer health educators and people in Resources for Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) hold educational sessions throughout the academic year. You can call them at 2-7200 or visit them in Administration 1A.
If you are the victim of a crime:
- Call the University Police right away! Timely reports are important. If you are the victim of a crime or if you see a crime or something that makes you suspicious, dial 123 from any campus phone, or use one of the more than 300 emergency phones throughout the neighborhood. Off campus, dial 702-8181 for the University Police or 911 to reach the Chicago Police.
- Go to the Mitchell Hospital Emergency Room (901 East 58th Street) if you're injured or have been the victim of a sexual assault. Tell them you're a student.
When you report to the University that you are a crime victim, a number of people are notified so that they can coordinate efforts to help you. At all times, someone in student affairs is designated as the "dean-on- call."
If you are not comfortable making your initial report to a police officer, you can reach the dean-on-call by telephoning the University Police at 702-8181 or 123 (from a campus phone). Also available at all times is a dean-on-call who has been specially trained to assist victims of sexual assault.
What happens when I call the University Police?
University police officers respond quickly to emergency calls—under three minutes is not uncommon. They will contact the dean-on-call or the sexual assault dean-on-call.
University police officers are well-trained and dedicated. They are expected to behave courteously and professionally to citizens at all times.
You do not have to press charges or pursue legal action because you have filed a report with the police. If you do press charges, you will get assistance and support during the trial process, if you wish, from the South East Chicago Commission, 324-6926.