Campus Police Offer Safety Tips


Photo by Melissa Brand

Melissa Brand

Crime and security threats happen at schools all around the nation, including Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU). While the current crime issues around the NEIU campus are relatively benign, recent history has shown that college students should be apprised of safety procedures and be ready to react appropriately. Sgt. John Schulz of the NEIU police force shared some tips that the NEIU community should be aware of.

“Campus life has changed in the past few years because of incidents that have happened on campuses,” said Schulz. “This started the Cleary Act which requires campuses to keep statistics on crime and what has happened on campus, and make it available to students or whoever is interested. You can go on the website and see what the [NEIU] Cleary stats are at any time.”

NEIU has a full police force with officers on duty 24-hours a day. They also work closely with Chicago Police District 17 and Illinois State Police. If anyone needs police assistance while on or near campus, they should call campus police at 773-442-4100 from a cell phone or 5511 from any campus phone. Schulz recommends saving the phone number in a cell phone and also stresses that students on campus should call the NEIU police before calling the Chicago Police Department (CPD) at 911. It takes considerably longer for CPD to get to the campus and locate an individual in the event of a crime. Schulz said, “If someone gets in an accident on campus, or someone gets their laptop stolen, or they get into a fight, or a crime occurs, we are the initial responders. We do the preliminary investigations and follow up for crimes that occur on campus.”

If an emergency happens to someone near the campus or at offsite parking locations, they should call 911 and then notify campus police if the incident is something they should be aware of.

According to Schulz, “The safety strategy we have includes routine patrols, the blue phones around campus, and the technology that we’re using. All the [police]cars have computers and different radios to communicate and we have closed circuit TV monitors strategically placed throughout the campus.”

Being a full service police department, the officers are out there enforcing all the traffic laws on campus and in the general area,” said Schulz.  “Every week there are kids in here that are driving on suspended or revoked licenses.” Schulz urges everyone to get their vehicle and driving issues taken care of. “It’s never a good time to get pulled over by the police,” said Schulz.

If an individual ever has an emergency while walking around campus, look for one of the Code Blue emergency phones which are connected directly to the campus police dispatcher and according to Schulz, are maintained on a regular basis. Schulz said to always be aware of your surroundings, not just on campus but to and from school and on the CTA. “Don’t be on your phone talking or texting, don’t have on headphones,” Schulz said. “If you’re not aware of your surroundings, someone can come out and snatch your devices like your iPhone or laptop. It’s also very dangerous to walk and text or wear your headphones when crossing the street.”

Campus police offers an escort service to students who don’t feel safe walking to their car or next class. They will also escort students who park on one of the surrounding streets near campus when possible. Vehicle lockout service is available if someone locks their keys in their car. Once an individual provides campus police some basic information and signs a waiver, campus police will help unlock their car.

Another item Schulz stressed importance of was the N-Alert campus-wide system. “This is the system the university uses to alert everyone in case of emergencies. This is also the same system that will alert you if there is a weather related closure so you don’t come out in bad weather and find the school is closed,” said Schulz. Students can sign up for N-Alert through on NEIUport.

School violence is not a common issue at NEIU, but if it happens, or if there is an active shooter incident, they want you to remember the phrase “OUT.”  Schulz said, “Get out – if you can, get out as fast as you can. Call out – on phone or by yelling out. Keep out – if you get out, don’t go back for ANYTHING. Take out – if you have to defend yourself, do whatever it takes to survive.”  These and more safety tips are available throughout the university on flip charts in every classroom as well as the campus police website