Chat with Chief Stone: Fall and winter breaks

The University of Illinois Police Department is here to keep you safe, and it provides a number of different services that can help you while you are on campus. This month, we’re speaking with Executive Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Craig Stone about how to stay safe if you sticking around campus during the fall and winter break – or what to do if you are traveling away from campus.

What should I expect on campus during breaks?

There are far fewer people in the campus area during the fall and winter breaks. Some restaurants and other campus area businesses close during the winter, although many remain open. The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District reduces their campus bus schedules, so if you use the bus often to travel on campus, you will want to check the MTD website for winter service schedules.

The police will still be here! We operate 24 hours a day, and 365 days a year. We never close. If you have any safety issues during the summer, or if you observe suspicious activity, please call 9-1-1 in an emergency or 217-333-1216 for non-emergencies.

Does crime happen on campus during the school breaks?

With fewer people on campus during the breaks, there is generally less crime activity. However, the opportunity for crime still exists. Criminals know that many students leave campus, so they may look for unlocked apartments and vehicles where they can find valuables.

This is easy to prevent. You should always lock the doors and windows to your apartment and your vehicle. This simple step will stop potential burglars from taking your belongings.

Additionally, because there are fewer people, it becomes important to walk in groups at night. SafeWalks will continue to operate during the breaks. You can call 217-333-1216 for a SafeWalks escort from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

What about weather?

It is cold, for sure! Make sure you have the coats, hats, scarves and gloves you need to be prepared for cold temperatures.

The biggest thing to remember is to drive safely if you have a car on campus. Roads frequently will be icy and slick during the winter months. Our local public works and facilities crews do their best to keep them clear of snow and ice. However, you will still need to slow down and allow for more time to get where you are going. If we tell you to stay indoors and off the roads, it is important that you do so!

What if I am leaving campus for the break?

Travel safely if you are going on vacation! Remember that crime can happen anywhere and at any time, so the same safety tips still apply no matter where you are. Stay in groups, lock your doors, and call police if you see anything suspicious. If you are traveling abroad, you can check the U.S. State Department website for travel advisories.

What else should I do to stay safe?

The best things you can do are travel in groups, and in well-lit areas. Use SafeWalks if you need it. Lock doors and windows at all times. Call 9-1-1 immediately if you observe suspicious activity.

We have a very safe campus. However, no community is entirely crime-free. Just make sure you observe a few basic safety tips.