Chat with Chief Stone: SafeWalks
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 SafeWalks, which is a free walking escort service students, faculty and staff can use to travel on campus at night.
What is SafeWalks?
SafeWalks is a service provided by our trained Student Patrol officers to enhance students’ and others’ safety when they are walking at night. The service operates from 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. When you call for a SafeWalks escort, a team of Student Patrol officers will meet you at your location and escort you to wherever you are going. They serve campus property and the surrounding residential areas. SafeWalks operates seven days a week throughout the year, during school breaks, and even on most holidays.
When should someone use SafeWalks?
You should use SafeWalks whenever you want someone to walk with, and especially when you do not have a friend or another person you know to escort you. Criminals target people who are walking alone late at night. By walking in groups, we significantly reduce our risk of being targeted by a criminal. The SafeWalks motto is “You never have to walk alone.” The more we travel in groups and in well-lit areas, the better we will be at reducing the opportunity for crime. Police do everything we can to keep you safe. However, we rely on our community members to engage in safe behaviors to protect themselves. Using SafeWalks when you are traveling at night is one of those things we want people to do.
What if I have had a few drinks? Will I get in trouble if I call SafeWalks?
Our Student Patrol officers are only interested in getting you safely to your location. It is especially important to use SafeWalks if you have had a couple of alcoholic beverages because overconsumption of alcohol reduces a person’s ability to respond to their surroundings. Criminals also target people who are over-intoxicated or who appear to be lost. Our Student Patrol officers will ensure you reach your location safely and, if you are in need of medical assistance, they can call for help. So if you have had a few alcoholic beverages and need to get home, please call SafeWalks.
What else does Student Patrol do?
Great question! Student Patrol officers provide SafeWalks; however, it is not the only thing they do. Student Patrol also acts as extra eyes and ears for police, and they carry police radios so they have a direct contact with officers if they need help or observe suspicious activity. Student Patrol officers have in the past have assisted students in need of medical attention, and we have even arrested criminals based on their observations. Student Patrol officers conduct checks of university buildings to make sure they are secure at night. So they do a lot to enhance campus safety!
How can I contact SafeWalks?
You can call 217-333-1216 after 9 p.m. to request a SafeWalks escort. You can also use any of the blue light emergency phone kiosks around campus to reach someone who can send Student Patrol officers to your location.