DPS makes safety recommendations for UT campus
A security audit of the University of Texas campus is now complete. The results show more can be done to make it an even safer place for students and faculty.
University of Texas students pass by Waller Creek every day, the spot where Haruka Weiser's body was found this past April. But campus is much different now. Her death is sparking a movement of change.
"There's always a police car or policeman somewhere I can see," says Madison Rider, freshman.
Freshman Madison Rider says before coming to UT, she was concerned.
Now that she's here, those concerns have gone away.
"I definitely feel safe on campus. Especially at orientation, they tell you about all the different safety programs they have. They have this thing called "SURE Walk" so if you're alone at night and you're going from one building to another, you just call or text and they'll send a male and female representative to walk you wherever you're going," says Rider.
The Department of Public Safety released a security assessment of the campus on Wednesday.
They made several recommendations; including upgrading video surveillance, reducing the presence of transients on campus and limiting public access to campus buildings at night. Parents agree.
"I think it's time that they know there are things that need to be changed. There's technology that's old on our campus and I think it's time now that they will make the effort to upgrade the campus and get it to where it needs to be," says Joell McNew.
Several other recommendations have already been implemented; for example: more officers are out on patrol, better lighting and overgrown vegetation has been cleared.
"If we as a community can come together and we communicate effectively, we can raise the level of safety for everybody in the community," says Asst. Chief Peter Scheets, University of Texas Police Department.
Immediately following the death of Haruka, university police focused on two main areas.
They increased the number of officers on campus actively patrolling during darkness, transitioning from eight-hour shifts to ten. Patrol officers were also tasked with establishing partnerships with managers at all buildings on campus, which exceeds 170.
But their main priority is making sure a tragic death never happens on campus again.
"This is the safest police environment that I have worked in. I think UT is a very safe campus. I think you have a group of dedicated professional officers that are working very hard to make sure that remains so," says Scheets.
The most pressing recommendations will be put into place immediately.
In addition, several campaigns promoting safety have been launched.