2010 Clery Act report now online

Students on campus with bikes, fallSMU is committed to fostering a safe learning and working environment for our campus community. As part of that commitment, the SMU Police Department prepares and distributes an annual security report for the University’s main campus, the SMU-in-Plano campus and the SMU-in-Taos campus.

This report is published by Oct. 1 each year in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. Under this federal law, colleges and universities must disclose specific information about campus crime and security policies.

The SMU reports contain three calendar years of crime statistics, including incidents occurring on campus, at public areas adjacent to campus and at certain non-campus facilities, including Greek houses and remote classrooms.

Information also is gathered from the University Park Police Department, Highland Park Police Department, Dallas Police Department, Plano Police Department, Taos County Sheriff’s Department in New Mexico and other University officials who have significant responsibility for students and campus activities.

The report is available online at the SMU Police Department website.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 and its accompanying regulations (HEOA) established new requirements for colleges and universities in the areas of personal safety and crime reporting, and also require for the first time that institutions issue an Annual Fire Report, similar to the crime and incident reporting in the Clery Annual Security Report.

“As you know, safety awareness and practices are a major focus of student orientation programs each year, complementing ongoing educational programming throughout the year. We encourage students, faculty and staff to be partners with us in enhancing security on campus and to share responsibility for their safety by heeding laws and regulations, taking safety precautions and avoiding behavior that puts them at risk,” wrote SMU President R. Gerald Turner in an e-mail dated Oct. 1, 2010. “We must remain mindful, for example, that while SMU’s campus engenders a comfort level one would expect of a collegiate setting, our location in a major metropolitan area brings with it challenges as well as opportunities.”

To request a paper copy of the University’s annual security report, call the SMU Police Department at 214-768-1348 or e-mail Officer Linda Perez.

Read more about SMU’s campus security and safety programs, as well as highlights of the new requirements under the HEOA, after the jump.

New for the 2009 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report

Missing Student Policy and Notification: All SMU students are required to designate a Primary Emergency Contact person in Access.SMU who will be notified by SMU in the event of a situation affecting the student’s health, safety, or physical or mental well being. Students who live in an on-campus housing facility also have the option to designate a confidential contact person to be notified in the case that the student is determined to be missing. Students may now designate a confidential Missing Person Contact different from their Primary Emergency Contact, and only authorized campus officials and law enforcement officers in furtherance of a missing person investigation may have access to the confidential Missing Person Contact information.

Annual Fire Safety Report: This report outlines fire safety practices, standards, and all fire-related on-campus statistics.

Emergency Response and Evacuation Procedures and Policy: This policy describes the procedures to be followed in the event of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on the campus, as well as a description of the methods of notification/alert methods to the campus.

Programs and Resources Supporting Campus Security and Safety

Law enforcement

• The SMU Police Department employs licensed and certified law enforcement officers who patrol campus 24 hours a day. These officers are armed and have full powers of arrest. SMU police officers are responsible for enforcement of all federal, state and local ordinances as well as the University’s policies and regulations.

• The SMU Police Department also employs security officers who provide facility security and support for special event operations. In addition, state-certified communications officers are on duty 24 hours a day and monitor fire and intrusion alarms and security cameras, answer 911 calls and dispatch police when services are requested.

• The University Park Police Department, which has concurrent jurisdiction on campus, augments SMU Police when necessary, and its officers regularly patrol campus. The University Park Fire Department is within six blocks of campus and provides fire-fighting and emergency paramedic services. Through interagency agreements, University Park Police Department, Highland Park DPS, the Dallas Police Department, Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and Texas Rangers also will provide assistance if requested.

• When an SMU student is involved in an off-campus incident, SMU police officers may assist with the investigation in cooperation with local, state or federal law enforcement. University Park Police routinely work and communicate with campus police officers on serious incidents occurring near campus.

Campus security

• Access to all campus buildings is restricted after normal business hours and on weekends and holidays. The exterior doors to all residence halls remain locked 24 hours a day and are equipped with electronic access control systems, which require student residents to enter with their ID cards. Only students assigned to a particular residence hall may enter that facility unescorted. Police officers and residence hall staff patrol the residence halls at unscheduled times throughout the day and night. Students are required to lock their room doors when they are out.

• Any person may be required, upon request by the SMU Police, to present identification while on campus. The University reserves the right to restrict the access of any person who does not adhere to University policies and procedures.

• Emergency call boxes with easily recognizable blue lights are strategically located throughout campus. Once activated, a call box sends a signal to the SMU Police Department via the campus 911 system. Security cameras also are positioned around campus, including at parking garages, some public plazas and libraries. These cameras are not monitored at all times, but they are equipped to digitally record activity within the field of view.

• SMU is a weapons-free campus. The use and possession of dangerous weapons, including concealed weapons, or facsimiles of dangerous weapons are not permitted on University property.

Crime prevention

• The SMU Police Department conducts crime prevention and information sessions during student and parent summer orientation, where information about the annual security report is presented. The department also provides educational programming to students, faculty and staff throughout the year.

• The Sexual Harassment, Assault and Rape Prevention (SHARP) program, a self-defense course for women taught by an SMU police officer, is offered at SMU’s fitness center, residence halls and sorority houses.

• The Silent Witness reporting program allows the SMU community to anonymously report suspicious or criminal activity. The Anonymous Tips Line (214-SMU-2TIP) is an unmonitored, voice-recorded phone line that is checked daily for new information. Alternately, community members may provide anonymous information online at smu.edu/2tip.

• The Giddy-Up program provides free golf-cart rides anywhere on campus to SMU community members from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. daily. SMU Police also offer security escorts to and from on-campus buildings and parking facilities.

• The SMU Rides program provides free taxi transportation from off-campus locations in the Dallas area back to residences on the main campus. SMU students may call 214-768-RIDE or 469-222-2222 and request a taxi ride on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from Executive Taxi. Rides are free to SMU students.

• Through Operation ID, students are encouraged to engrave identification numbers on valuable personal property. Engravers are available at the SMU Police Department.

• SMU conducts an annual “lighting walk” across campus for student leaders and campus officials to review lighting and safety precautions and identify specific areas of concern on National Night Out.

• SMU Police enforce the laws regarding alcohol and drug use, as do police departments in nearby University Park, Highland Park and the city of Dallas. The University also has in place numerous programs, policies and resources aimed at substance abuse prevention, which are monitored by the SMU Commission on Substance Abuse Prevention and Education. A special website, www.smu.edu/liveresponsibly, contains pertinent substance abuse information for students, faculty and staff.

Safety communications and incident response

• Timely warnings are issued in the form of crime alerts to keep the SMU community informed about serious crimes and security issues. Crime alerts may be distributed to the campus community in a variety of formats, including, but not limited to: e-mail, social media, and fliers printed on brightly colored paper and distributed in all residence halls, dining halls, academic facilities, administrative buildings and parking garages, and posted on the SMU Police website.

• SMU posts alerts for certain off-campus crimes occurring outside SMU Police patrol jurisdiction, when SMU has received timely notification and the offense represents a serious or continuing threat to the campus community.

• The SMU Police website – www.smu.edu/pd – provides information about department services, security on and off campus, crime statistics, campus alerts and a police report log of incidents reported to the department.

Emergency preparedness

SMU Aware, a campus preparedness program, has been developed by the SMU Office of Risk Management to provide information on handling campus emergencies and disasters.

• The University maintains a fully equipped Emergency Operations Center with trained staff members who routinely participate in drills with local, state and federal agencies. An emergency response plan addresses situations including tornadoes, floods, hazardous material spills and terror threats. SMU also has a Director of Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity Planning, dedicated to emergency preparation, recovery and continuation of campus operations.

• For extreme cases of imminent threat, SMU’s Office of Emergency Management has developed and regularly tests a redundant notification system that employs campus-wide text messages, voice messages, emails, websites and city sirens with public-address capability. In addition, low-tech methods include bullhorns, walkie-talkies and runners who deliver messages. A hotline is maintained at 214-SMU-INFO to provide current emergency information. If necessary, SMU also would activate call centers to answer parent and community questions and to provide immediate instructions. Students, parents, faculty and staff are routinely encouraged to keep their contact information up-to-date.

• Each campus building has a designated manager who is trained in emergency procedures that are shared with building occupants. Regular building evacuation drills are conducted to ensure familiarity with procedures.

• SMU has developed an Emergency Notification System Policy which describes the methods of communication to be used to notify and/or alert the campus community of a situation which is deemed to be a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students and employees occurring on the campus.