URBANA, Illinois – The University of Illinois Police Department is taking proactive steps to prevent crime – particularly gun violence – in the area immediately bordering campus.
Public Safety officials introduced several new techniques immediately following an Aug. 21 shooting near Second and Green streets in Champaign. One person was injured in that shooting, but no U. of I. students or employees were involved.
“We do not take these incidents lightly, especially when they occur in such close proximity to our campus,” said University Police Chief Alice Cary. “It is imperative that we take proactive steps to deter further violence and prevent anyone else from getting hurt.”
The first step is extra police patrols. University Police have put a special detail in place in the Campustown area to make sure there is a visible police presence and that there are plenty of staffing resources available to respond to emergencies.
Another new feature around Second and Green streets is the introduction of several new security cameras. University Police installed cameras on university property in the immediate area and additionally worked with private property owners to place cameras on their buildings. The new cameras give police a better view of that corridor to deter crime and so that offenders can be easily identified if crime were to occur.
Police have also placed new lighting in the area to deter criminal activity, as well as concrete barricades blocking some parking lot entrances. Better lighting is an effective technique for preventing crime, and the barricades prevent people from congregating in parking lots where some disputes have occurred.
“Some of these new features are intentionally and obviously visible because we want people to see that there are crime prevention tools in place,” Cary said. “The idea is that it’s going to be a very uncomfortable place for anyone who has thoughts of causing harm to our community.”
Following the Aug. 21 shooting, University Police immediately responded to enhance security in the Green Street area. The new tools were in place for the weekend of Aug. 28 and will remain in place for Labor Day weekend.
Police are also reminding students to take some easy steps to protect themselves — foremost among those is staying in groups of three or more when traveling at night, and using well-lit routes. Students can contact SafeWalks at 217-333-1216 if they need someone to walk with.
University Police are also making plans to purchase and install automatic license plate readers in the immediate campus area. License plate readers can be used to alert police to the location of a car associated with a criminal investigation and can offer police investigative data on cars that were near a crime scene when a crime occurred.