12:51 PM

A Message from UHDPD Chief Michael Benford: If You See Something, Say Something

To the UHD Community,

UHDPD Chief Michael Benford

The recent events in Austin and surrounding areas are unsettling to say the least and have prompted dialogue on identifying suspicious items on our campuses.

As most are aware, the Austin and the San Antonio areas were recently impacted by random explosives concealed in packages. While the perpetrator of those acts is no longer a threat, some of you may still be concerned when you spot an unidentified box, bag or backpack on our campus. Likewise, you may be alarmed about receiving a package that you do not recognize.

If you happen to see an item on campus that raises your suspicion, do not hesitate to contact the University of Houston-Downtown Police Department (UHDPD). To use a phrase employed by other law enforcement agencies, "If you see something, say something." The same goes for individuals who might be engaged in unlawful activity on campus or don't appear to be part of our UHD Community.

It's important that you report any kind of suspicious item or activity to our officers rather than taking action on your own. If you do not see a security guard or police officer in the vicinity, contact UHDPD at 713-221-8065 or 713-221-8911 (emergency). It is a good practice to have those numbers programmed in your phone for easy access. Or, look for one of the many yellow emergency call boxes on campus to instantly reach our department.

With regard to mail, our Shipping & Receiving and Mail Services staff, led by Manager Debora Evans, Manager, is trained to monitor for suspicious packages or unfamiliar vendors sending items to campus.

Some mail order companies, such as Amazon, have been delivering packages directly to UHD departments. Delivery personnel should always be directed to drop packages off at the UHD mail room rather than at University offices.

Likewise, make note of characteristics that might indicate a package or letter is not from a trustworthy source. Look for the following:

  • No return address
  • Mailed from a country or city from which you did not order a product
  • Misspelled words
  • Stains, discolorations, crystallization on packing paper
  • Excessive tape or string
  • Protruding wires
  • Addressed to title only (and title is incorrect)

The safety of the campus community is UHDPD's top priority. Our officers take great pride in serving this campus, and are available 24/7 to answer questions and respond to your needs, but maintaining a safe campus is a shared responsibility. The UHDPD counts on our faculty, staff and students to be the eyes and ears for this institution. Your cooperation is essential in our department identifying possible threats and safeguarding the University.

Once again, "If you see something, say something."

Thank you.

Chief Michael Benford

UHD Police Chief