The safety of our campus community is the university’s highest priority. The university seeks to continue to foster a secure environment for the university’s academic and research enterprise. The mission is to ensure the safety, welfare, and security of the students, staff, faculty, students and visitors to campus through high quality services and leadership. The Office of Campus Safety and The University of Texas Police Department (UTPD) coordinate with university departments as well as external agencies such as the Austin Police Department (APD), The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), and various other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies as needed to implement a comprehensive plan that includes multiple levels of campus safety and security measures.
While the university is a safe campus, we are constantly improving and striving to help our college community be better prepared for situations that may result in safety or health hazards. During the past five years the University has received $14 million dollars in grant funding to improve safety measures both on campus and in the West Campus area. The University has also made major investments to increase infrastructure security, add safety measures to ensure a safer campus at night and measures to ensure clear and safe pathways for the campus community.
West Campus Initiative
In 2020, the UT System Board of Regents approved an $8 million safety plan for the West Campus area. The plan seeks to increase the UT community’s sense of security in the off-campus area through higher police visibility as well as provide support to area law enforcement partners. It is to be implemented over four years.
- Establishment of a new UT Police Department District—UTPD created a new West Campus police district and assigned two officers to serve as District Representatives who will act as the primary community engagement liaisons for the area. UT community members are encouraged to email these officers with non-urgent questions or concerns. Always call 911 in an emergency.
- Hiring Additional Officers—UTPD hired 13 new officers to fully staff the new district.
- High Activity Location Observation Camera System—UTPD installed cameras to enhance security in areas west of campus which are heavily travelled by students and employees.
- Satellite Office—UTPD constructed a new substation at Walter Webb Hall, located at 25th and Guadalupe Street. The satellite office is a place for UTPD personnel to conduct daily operations, as well as serve as safe and convenient place for community members to visit to address security concerns they may have. It includes a system for reporting emergencies. A 911 call box, located on the sidewalk immediately in front of the entrance, is available for emergency assistance during non-office hours. The line dials directly into the UTPD 911 dispatch center.
2016 DPS Safety and Security Review
The Office of Campus Safety coordinates with UTPD, and other university and external partners to create plans and protocols so we can be ready for and respond to emergencies like fire hazards, environmental hazards and weather emergencies. We also work to keep the buildings and residence halls safe through the use of security cameras, lighting, building access controls, and barricades. All of this is part of a comprehensive university plan designed to keep campus community members safe.
In 2016, the Texas Department of Public Safety conducted a comprehensive safety and security review of the campus to help us improve and enhance our safety and security practices. The Texas Legislature provided funding to help us address the recommendations that resulted from the DPS review. The university spent about $13 million ($6 million provided by the UT System) to increase infrastructure security, including safety measures to ensure a safer campus at night and measures to ensure clear and safe pathways for the campus community. In addition to providing students with crime prevention tips, trainings, and resources like Sure Walk, UT Night Rides and the LiveSafe app, the university also works to keep campus safe through various measures, including:
- Increased lighting on streets and pathways and around buildings.
- Reduced vegetation near walkways on campus for better visibility.
- Assignment of assigned “celebrated entrances” for academic-focused buildings that are enhanced with powerful lighting, video monitoring and card reader access that restricts building access after regular building hours to campus community members with use of their UT ID.
- Creation of a “safety hub” program designed to put critical life safety equipment in every building on the main campus. The safety hubs are located within a well-trafficked entrance of a building and include emergency call boxes that provide a direct line of communication to UTPD dispatchers.
- Increased number of security cameras on campus. The cameras provide real time situational awareness and can be used for forensic evidence if needed.
- Increased monitoring of UT and UTPD social media channels.
- Stronger encouragement of the UT community to be proactive in personal safety.
- UTPD, APD and DPS partnership to increase patrols west of campus.
Keeping Students Safe
Part of the student experience at UT Austin includes learning safe practices that can be used on campus and beyond. Through a variety of programs and communications, students learn how to take action for their personal safety and property and how they can encourage a culture of safety on campus. Campus safety is the university’s highest priority.
What is being done to keep students safe?
The University of Texas at Austin Police Department (UTPD) is a state police agency that has an authorized strength of 100 sworn officers. It is a fully-functioning, accredited state police agency serving the UT community 24 hours a day. UTPD includes an investigative division, K-9 teams, bicycle teams and its own 911 dispatch center.
The department operates on a community-oriented policing philosophy, encouraging greater communication between police and the communities they serve. Members of the UT community are encouraged to use the District Representative interactive map to directly email an officer about any concerns.
- The LiveSafe at UT Austin app gives the UT community and guests to campus immediate access to police dispatch via the communication tool most frequently used—text. UTPD hopes the app will encourage users to engage and share important, potentially life-saving information, to prevent crime and enable better incident response.
- All incoming students are required to take risk prevention programs, AlcoholEdu and the Sexual Assault Prevention Program: healthyhorns.utexas.edu/AlcoholEdu/index.html
- Counseling and Mental Health Services – Provides counseling, psychiatric consultation, and prevention services: cmhc.utexas.edu
- All building major access points include first aid stations.
- The “Your ID is Your Key” initiative restricts building access during specific time to students, faculty, and staff with university ID cards or traditional keys.
- Main entrances on all campus facilities are clearly defined and enhanced with approach-way lighting, electronic access control and video interface.
- Main entrances of every academic and general-purpose classroom building are outfitted with a “safety hub” that includes an automated external defibrillator (AED), hemorrhage control kits, and an emergency call box connected to the UTPD Dispatch Center.
- Every classroom displays an emergency guide that provides instructions for certain emergency situations and includes the building address and room number for that location in case someone should need to call or text to 911.
- While UTPD and the university do a great deal to provide a safe environment, they require participation from the community to be fully effective (i.e. call 911, report theft, suspicious activity, offer suggestions, etc.).
How will students be notified of emergency situations on campus?
UTPD has a responsibility to comply with Clery Act requirements, releasing timely warnings about reported crimes to the campus community in a manner that will aid in the prevention of similar crimes, as well as providing emergency notifications within Clery Act geography when the health and safety of the campus community is at risk. All alerts are posted on UTPD’s website. The department utilizes one or more of the following methods of communication to post warnings: text messages, campus wide email, social media (Facebook & Twitter), UT Emergency and home page, campus siren system, desktop pop-up alert system and closed circuit television systems in residence halls and other buildings. All systems are tested monthly to provide familiarity to students:
- Text alerts
- Used to communicate a credible, immediate, ongoing threat to campus
- Alerts provide immediate direction to students, faculty and staff with specific actions to take
- Students must sign up to receive text alerts before they can register for classes at orientation. Text alerts are optional for faculty and staff.
- Used to communicate crimes and incidents on and immediately near campus
- Emails provide details and updates that can aid in the prevention of similar incidents
- UT community members automatically receive email notifications
- Alerts issued for incidents beyond UTPD jurisdiction are dependent upon notification from outside agencies. UTPD is not obligated to issue alerts outside Clery geography, but will relay safety messaging from other agencies as a courtesy to our community.
- Outdoor Warning Siren
- Activated in the event of certain emergencies, such as severe weather, that require people to seek shelter immediately.
- Social Media and Emergency Website
- Twitter: @UTAustinPolice, @UTAustin and @AustinPolice
- Facebook: UT Austin Police, The University of Texas at Austin
How can students create a safer campus environment?
You can play a key role in creating a safe campus community by:
- Becoming familiar with the UT Austin campus safety and security information: utexas.edu/campus-life/safety-and-security.
- Call 911 whenever you feel unsafe. 911 is the fastest way to get help during police, medical or fire emergencies.
- Walk in pairs or groups. You are safer together.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Put your phone down and keep your eyes and ears on what is happening around you.
- Developing a peer and family emergency communication plan. Whether an emergency occurs on campus or in your hometown, establish a concrete two-way communication plan so you everyone knows what is happening.
- Use the university’s safety resources:
- SURE Walk provides students with a safe escort home via an accompanied walk, golf cart or vehicle every day from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. during the fall and spring semesters. Students can call 512-232-9255.
- Students can request a ride from UTPD when SURE Walk is not operating, by calling 512-471-4441, selecting 9.
- UT Night Rides provides free Lyfts away from main campus to your home seven days a week from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. Locations served mirror current UT Shuttle System routes. All rides must originate from main campus only.
- Behavior Concerns Advice Line (BCAL), 512-232-5050 is a 24/7 advice line anyone can call to discuss their concerns about a student, faculty or staff’s behavior with trained staff.
- Review the Active Shooter Response Guide which also includes a video.
UT Austin Experts
Jimmy Johnson – Assistant Vice President for Campus Safety
David Carter – Chief – UTPD
Noelle Newton – Director of Campus Safety and Security – UTPD
Messages to campus
Statement on Campus Safety – from President Jay Hartzell – November 1, 2021
Response to Governor Abbott Sending DPS Into West Campus – from Chief David Carter – October 8, 2020
Fall Safety Initiatives – from Chief David Carter – August 31, 2020
UTPD Awarded Accreditation with Excellence – from Chief David Carter – August 3, 2020
Message from the Chief: Safety Plan for West Campus – from Chief David Carter – February 28, 2020
Safety and Security Update – from Jimmy Johnson, Assistant Vice President for Campus Safety and David Carter, Assistant Vice President for Campus Security and Chief of Police – May 2019
Focusing on Safety – from President Gregory L. Fenves – April 22, 2019
Tragedy on Campus Today – from President Gregory L. Fenves – May 1, 2017
Update on Campus Tragedy – from President Gregory L. Fenves – May 1, 2017
from President Gregory L. Fenves
UT Austin Receives DPS Security Assessment and Will Implement Recommendations – from Gregory L. Fenves – Aug. 31, 2016
Improvements to Campus Safety and Security – from President Gregory L. Fenves – July 5, 2016
Updates on Campus Tragedy – from President Gregory L. Fenves – April 6, 2016
Law Enforcement Continues Homicide Investigation – from President Gregory L. Fenves – April 6, 2016
A Loss For Our Community – from President Gregory L. Fenves – April 7, 2016
Developments in Homicide Investigation – from President Gregory L. Fenves – April 8, 2016
A Message from Haruka’s Family – from President Gregory L. Fenves – April 8, 2016
Honoring Haruka’s Memory – from President Gregory L. Fenves
UT President calls for more policing in West Campus area following shooting – KXAN – November 2, 2021
Most feel safe and secure on campus, police survey shows – KXAN – April 27, 2021
UT Austin parents push for campus security improvements 5 years after Haruka Weiser’s death – KVUE – April 5, 2021
UT Austin Police Department Launches Mental Health Crisis Response Team – Campus Security and Life Safety – February 11, 2021
FOX 7 Discussions: Crime Concerns Near UT Campus – FOX 7 – October 22, 2020
Gov. Abbott increasing DPS patrols near UT in response to West Campus robberies – CBS Austin October 8, 2020
UT approved $8 million to hire more officers to patrol West Campus— KXAN — February 28,2020
Man’s conviction for strangling UT Austin student Haruka Weiser upheld – KVUE – November 15, 2019
Man Found Guilty in Killing of Texas College Student Haruka Weiser – NBC – July 20, 2018
6 Months After Deadly UT Stabbing, Friends, Family Remember Harrison Brown – KVUE-TV – Nov. 10, 2017
Community Mourns Senseless Death of Harrison Brown – The Graham Leader – May 2, 2017
Haruka Weiser Death Suspect in Custody, Police Say – CNN – April 8, 2016