SafeWalks extends hours through Sunday morning

URBANA, Ill. — SafeWalks has temporarily extended its hours to provide free walking escorts to students, faculty and staff, beginning at 7 p.m.

The extension, which makes SafeWalks available earlier than its usual 9 p.m. starting time, is scheduled through Sunday morning, when daylight saving time begins.

Public safety officials extended SafeWalks hours in response to three off-campus incidents this week when students were confronted by men who displayed weapons. In two of those cases, the men made off with students’ belongings, and in the other, the offender fled before any words or property was exchanged. No students were injured in any of the incidents.

University of Illinois Police are stressing the importance of walking in groups and maintaining awareness of your surroundings.

“Maintaining awareness of your surroundings is critical, especially when traveling at night,” said Interim Police Chief Matthew Myrick. “Wearing headphones or looking at your phone diminishes your ability to respond to your surroundings. Walk with purpose, and stay attentive.”

Public safety officials hope to make that easier for students by providing the earlier opportunity for reaching SafeWalks. Any student, faculty or staff member can request a free SafeWalks escort by calling 217-333-1216, or by downloading the SafeWalks app for iOS or Android.