By Mike Emery
Safeguarding a public university is not easy, but the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) has proven that it is up to the task. With thousands of students to serve and a growing campus, the UHD Police Department takes great care in providing a secure, comfortable learning environment.
Its efforts were recently recognized by College Choice in its rankings of the 50 Safest Large Colleges and Universities in America. UHD ranks no. 3 on this list.
The publication selected institutions with low crime rates for this list and graded them based on general safety, women’s safety, fire safety, anti-discrimination and drug and alcohol incidents (or party scenes). Data was collected from each institution’s crime reports, the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education of Statistics.
In its assessment of UHD, College Choice lauded UHD Police Department’s (UHDPD) transparency with its crime statistics and for promoting safety resources and tips to the campus community.
“Despite also being located in a major city, UHD has only a few reported minor crimes (burglary, robbery, alcohol violation) in the last three years,” College Choice reports. “It is one of the safest campuses in the country and boasts a highly involved on-campus police department. Enacting their stated values of integrity, honesty, fairness, courage, compassion, and accountability, the UHDPD makes available all of their procedures and crime reports, they provide safety tips and resources, and they employ a breadth of preventative measures.”
College Choice’s grading of UHD is as follows:
- General safety – 97.3 percent
- Anti-discrimination – 100 percent
- Women’s safety – 98.6 percent
- Party culture – 99.6 percent
- Fire safety – 100 percent
“We have worked hard at UHD to improve various safety issues—in the workplace and for all-around public security,” said UHD Interim President Michael A. Olivas. “We will take this recognition as a sign of success, and strive to prove ourselves worthy of it every day.”
UHDPD is staffed with 20 officers, eight security officers and a parking officer who will accompany community members to and from their vehicles. The campus is equipped with 182 call boxes located near entrances/exits and in elevators. More details on UHDPD’s community services can be found here.
“We have a very stable UHD Police Department with exceptional leadership and officers,” Olivas added. “We have had fire and emergency drills. We are glad for this Safest University honor, especially with our urban location and ease of access. For our part, everyone should be alert and aware, and keep us informed of suspicious activities.”
Community members can contact UHDPD at 713-221-8065 or at its emergency line at 713-221-8911. For more details on the department, visit its website. Students can learn more about their role in keeping campus safe by reviewing UHDPD’s crime prevention site.