September 11, 2013 Message about Campus Safety

Members of the Brown Community,

It is essential for Brown to maintain a safe and secure environment for our students, faculty and staff. In recent years, we have strengthened the safety of campus and the surrounding areas through an increase in highly trained personnel, deployment of better technology and equipment, and strengthened partnerships with Providence Police and other law enforcement. These steps, together with the thoughtful approach toward community policing exercised by Brown's Department of Public Safety, have contributed to enhanced safety and a decline in crime over the previous decade. Regrettably, they have not assured immunity from violent crime.

The five robberies that have occurred near campus since June 2013 have been particularly alarming. We are constantly reviewing the measures we have in place to identify opportunities to make our campus safer, and we are taking additional steps as we begin the academic year. We have increased Department of Public Safety staffing by adding ten campus police officer positions over the past several years, including four in the current fiscal year. The force is now comprised of 53 sworn officers and 31 non-sworn officers who patrol the campus 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. I have directed Chief of Public Safety Mark Porter to supplement the security personnel with additional “yellow jacket” staff to be located at highly visible fixed posts around the campus.

To further improve safety, we will launch a pilot program to expand Brown onCall, the on-call evening shuttle service that transports Brown community members between campus and off-campus locations in the vicinity of Brown. Currently, the service is available only to those who reside in off-campus housing not located on the shuttle route, or who have pre-approved off-campus research, work or volunteer activities. As soon as we are satisfied that we have the appropriate number of drivers to handle increased demand, this service will be extended to all community members with a Brown ID. We will provide details about this expanded pilot program in the coming days.

I have also asked Executive Vice President for Policy and Planning Russell Carey to convene a task force made up of faculty, students and staff to assess the resources we have in place and determine areas for improvement. The task force will be charged with investigating tighter integration between Brown Shuttle, Brown onCall and the Safewalk program; better safety education for Brown students, faculty and staff; and the possible expansion of technology such as improved surveillance cameras to investigate and deter crime. This task force will be formed in the coming weeks and will issue a report to me, with recommendations, no later than the end of the semester.

It is important for members of the community to keep in mind that while College Hill is generally safe and crime in the area has declined in recent years, we are an urban campus. As the academic year begins, we will continue to devote significant attention and resources toward a comprehensive approach to safety and security, and urge the campus community to reaffirm their awareness and understanding of the resources offered and of some basic but valuable guidance listed below.

I would like to thank Chief Mark Porter and the entire department for their diligent efforts and dedication to our community. We are grateful, too, for the University’s partnership with Providence Police. Through their combined efforts a number of perpetrators have been apprehended, and we look forward to collaborating even more effectively for the safety and security of the campus, College Hill and our Providence community.

Sincerely,

Christina Paxson

Guidance from the Department of Public Safety

  • Trust your instincts. Be alert to your surroundings and other people. Talking on your phone or listening to music with headphones will make you less aware of your surroundings. If you hear the same footsteps behind you, don't be afraid to take a quick glance over your shoulder and change your direction of travel. If possible, walk into a nearby business or building that is occupied by many people to divert a possible criminal. If at all possible, avoid putting yourself in isolated areas.
  • If at all possible, do not walk alone at night. Take advantage of Safewalk, a program run by student employees that provides point to point walking escorts for their fellow community members on the Brown campus. If you must walk alone, advise a friend of your estimated time of arrival and use the Brown Guardian service on your cell phone (registration is free to all students). Familiarize yourself with the locations of the Brown University Shuttle stops. If you are out after shuttle service ends, call Public Safety for a ride.
  • Program the Emergency Number for Public Safety – (401) 863-4111 – into your phone. Do not hesitate to call if you are concerned for your safety or observe suspicious behavior.
  • When on campus, familiarize yourself with the locations of our Blue Light Emergency Phones. These phones are located on most University buildings, walkways, and all residence halls, and provide a direct connection to the Public Safety Communications Center.
  • Do Not Resist a subject that uses or threatens to use force or a weapon when attempting to rob you of your property. Comply, give up the belongings demanded, go to a safe space at once, and call DPS at (401) 863-4111 immediately.