The UCF Police Department is increasing its efforts to provide emergency and crime prevention information to the campus community via several new initiatives rolling out this fall.
“Campus safety is all about awareness and partnership,” says UCF Police Chief Carl Metzger ’03MS. “UCFPD depends on the eyes and ears of those in our community to support our efforts to keep UCF a safe place for everyone to live, learn, work and play.”
A key partner for UCFPD is the Student Government Association, which provided funding to support a new police location in the Student Union and enhancements to the UCF Mobile app.
“We are proud partners and supporters of our campus police department. We appreciate their dedication to the safety and wellbeing of our students, which is why we look forward to sharing our home in the heart of campus with the Community Partnerships Division,” says Kyler L. Gray, student body president and public administration major. “I can think of no better way to unite our campus community and promote positive and helpful interaction between our students and our police officers.”
“UCFPD depends on the eyes and ears of those in our community to support our efforts to keep UCF a safe place for everyone to live, learn, work and play.” — UCFPD Chief Carl Metzger
Community Outreach Center Opens in the Student Union
UCFPD’s Community Outreach Center will open in the Student Union during the first weeks of classes. Located on the first floor next to the Pegasus Ballroom, the space will be the UCFPD Community Partnerships Unit’s home in the heart of campus.
Four police officers who specialize in safety education and campus outreach will be based out of the space, which also will be used for safety trainings, information sessions and more. Students, faculty and staff members are encouraged to walk in while the office is open to address any questions, comments or concerns.
“Our focus will be on making UCF police officers and department resources more accessible to our campus community and increasing our abilities to provide valuable emergency response and other safety-related information,” says Sgt. Peter Osterrieder, who oversees the Community Partnerships Unit. “Of course, we’ll also respond in the event of an emergency and assist anyone who needs to report a crime.”
The center will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Information about trainings and other programming will be shared regularly via the UCF events calendar and UCF and UCFPD’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
UCFPD’s main hub will remain at 3610 Libra Drive, and officers and dispatchers will continue to patrol campus and answer calls 24/7 based out of that location.
More Resources in the Mobile App and Online
Users of the UCF Mobile app will notice enhancements that support campus safety.
A new section in the app, UCF Tips, allows users to alert appropriate offices at UCF to crime tips, instances of misconduct, housing and parking issues and more. In some cases, users will be able to share photos and videos of a situation or issue, and then hear directly from the department addressing the concern.
A new “Safe Walk” feature allows users to share their location, destination and estimated arrival time with selected friends who can track the user’s trip on a real time map. Friends will receive updates about the trip and, in the event of the unexpected, can ping police for assistance and relay critical location and timing information from the app.
In addition, the app’s Safety module has been updated to include safety tips and more information about crime prevention, with specific, relevant content for each of the campuses included in the app.
Also new this fall is www.ucf.edu/safety, a comprehensive resource for all things safety at UCF. The site includes a listing of campus reporting and support resources, along with timely information about top-of-mind campus safety issues.
Campus Crime Down 21 Percent
The new safety initiatives come at a time when campus crime is down. In 2018, violent and property crimes at UCF dropped 21 percent, marking another year of a decrease in crime as student enrollment has grown.
The statistics are reflected in UCFPD’s 2018 Uniform Crime Report, which is compiled by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement each year based on data law enforcement agencies are required to report to the state.
“I am proud of the work UCFPD does every day to push the number of crimes down using the technology, intelligence and good old-fashioned police work available to us,” Metzger says. “The numbers demonstrate that when those in our community see something and say something, UCFPD will do something.”