Speeches & Writings

The safety of our community

Dear students, faculty, and staff:

Amid the excitement that comes with the start of a new academic year, we also find ourselves, unfortunately, having to address serious criminal activity in off-campus areas around the university. I know it is unsettling when incidents occur. I wanted to reach out to let you know that I am concerned and determined to take action. Nothing is more important to me than the safety and well-being of our university community.

All of you should have received a crime alert on Sunday that referenced four recent armed robberies that occurred in the neighborhoods adjacent to our Danforth campus, three of which involved our students. The alert also included important steps we all can take to maintain safety.

In the short term, immediately following the armed robberies, our university police (WUPD) and the St. Louis City Metropolitan Police Department increased patrols in the affected areas. There are other more intensive law enforcement-related efforts underway, as well. These are important first steps.

For the longer-term, I and my senior leadership team are aggressively exploring every conceivable option to build on the substantial investments the university has made in safety-related tools and programs, especially over the past few years. I will share more as this process moves forward. I do acknowledge that this is an extremely difficult challenge. There is much that we cannot control and the extent to which the university can unilaterally affect the prevalence of crime off of our campuses is limited. However, I feel very strongly that more must be done.

In the meantime, please know that WUPD is here to support anyone in our community who needs help – whether it is in response to a situation or just as part of our everyday activities. Never hesitate to reach out if you feel threatened, unsafe or anxious. You can reach WUPD any time at 314-935-5555. Also, a reminder that when you receive a WashU Alert, Crime Alert, or Security Memo, to please take heed. We only will contact you through these channels when it’s important. In every case, we will make clear what action – if any – you should take in response.

Again, your safety and well-being is a top priority. We are working hard to create an environment where everyone feels safe and secure. This is my commitment to you as your chancellor.