University initiatives enhance safety on and off campus

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Proactive steps by UNC Charlotte to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff have proven effective on campus and off campus. While crime is very low on campus, the University launched two initiatives aimed at further boosting security.

For students who live in off-campus housing, the University launched Niner Choice, a program in its second year that requires managers of off-campus apartment complexes to follow enhanced security procedures established by the University’s Police and Public Safety Department and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department in exchange for official recognition by UNC Charlotte.

As part of the program, officers inspect the off-campus apartment complexes for safety features – such as lighting and surveillance cameras. Participating apartment complexes are featured on a University website for off-campus housing.

Niner Choice properties include: 901 Place, Flats at Mallard Creek, Flats at Campus Pointe, Circle at University, 49 North, University Village, Mallard Green, Waldon Station, Mallard Glen and Millennium One.

Those off-campus housing complexes have seen very few disruptive incidents during this semester. However, recent incidents have occurred at complexes that do not participate in Niner Choice.  This week, the CMPD is investigating the discharge of a firearm at a complex on Hwy 49 and Mallard Creek Church Road.

According to UNC Charlotte Police Chief Jeff Baker, the incident resulted in property damage to a building wall. There were no injuries.

“The apartment complexes where recent incidents occurred were not Niner Choice complexes,” Baker said. “The safety of our students is a top priority and there are many precautions in place for their safety.”

University officials have taken other measures to safeguard members of the campus community. One is a free mobile app, “LiveSafe,” which enables students, faculty and staff to instantly share safety and security concerns with the University Police and Public Safety Department.

Some of the key features available in the app include:     

  • The ability to call or have a text conversation with campus police
  • The ability to anonymously report tips with pictures or videos to campus police
  • The ability to conduct a virtual “safe-walk” that allows selected contacts to temporarily track one’s movements while a person walks to his/her destination
  • A full list of all campus buildings with GPS assistance to guide a person to the building he/she is attempting to locate
  • A list of contacts for vital campus emergency and non-emergency services
  • A situationally specific list of emergency tips and best practices for a multitude of emergency events
  • An electronic copy of the University Campus Evacuation Plan and Emergency Manual

The University’s Student Government Association leads an annual Campus Safety Walk, in collaboration with campus police and facilities management. The walk features small groups of students, staff and faculty who systematically comb the campus to identify safety concerns and recommend remedies – lighting, emergency phones, crosswalks, sidewalks and pathways, shrubbery, etc.

The Chancellor’s Campus Safety and Security Committee, established in 2008,  makes annual recommendations to Chancellor Philip L. Dubois for measures that further enhance the safety and security of campus for faculty, staff, students and visitors.  The 2014-2015 Campus Safety and Security Committee report to the chancellor is posted online.

UNC Charlotte Police also has a mutual patrol agreement with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department. The agreement allows campus police officers to patrol streets up to one-half mile from the UNC Charlotte campus.