Chat with Chief Stone: Summer safety

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 are living near campus during the summer.

What should I expect on campus during the summer?

The campus area is beautiful during the summer months, and there is a lot to do in Champaign-Urbana. However, there are far fewer people in the campus area. Some restaurants and other campus area businesses close during the summer, 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 summer 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 summer?

With fewer people on campus during the summer months, 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 summer. You can call 217-333-1216 for a SafeWalks escort from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

What about severe weather?

Central Illinois does experience severe weather. However, most of the time, it is not very dangerous. However, the potential exists for tornadoes or extremely strong thunderstorms. If you hear tornado sirens, or if you receive a tornado warning, you should find shelter immediately. Get to the lowest level of the building you are in, and stay away from doors and windows.

What if I am leaving campus for the summer?

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. You will enjoy summer in Champaign-Urbana, and there is lots to do! Just make sure you observe a few basic safety tips.