12:59 PM

Keep Safety in Mind as Busy Semester Begins


By Mark Kramer

Take a quick glance, and you’ll see steady streams of students walking to classes from the parking lots on the University of Houston-Downtown campus. It’s a telling sign that the 2019 Fall semester is under way.

From keeping an eye out for increased vehicle traffic to students becoming aware of new surroundings, the UHD Police Department (UHDPD) encourages students to always keep safety on their minds.

“The start of the semester is indeed an extremely busy time,” UHDPD Chief Michael Benford said. “Students are focused on getting to class or their next destination, but we highly recommend that they keep an eye on the environment around them. If they see something suspicious or unusual, say something.”

To that end, UHD community members are encouraged to use the emergency call boxes located throughout campus and to sign up for alerts or use Twitter’s “Fast Follow” (text “follow UHD_Alerts” to 40404).

UHDPD Lt. Frederick Varela encourages students and others to travel in groups. He added that persons may request an escort to their vehicle by notifying the police dispatcher via any police call box on campus or by calling 713-221-8065. The service is available 24 hours a day.

Varela also addressed the need for extra caution while driving on campus and keeping an eye out for pedestrians.

“We ask everyone to remain patient, especially early in the mornings and at the start of classes in the evening as the traffic volume increases,” he said.

In addition, Benford mentioned the recent opening of a new pay lot near the Bayou Lot as a parking alternative for students.

Varela highly recommends students, faculty and staff sign up for UHD Alerts. The system immediately provides emergency notifications to subscribers when major issues occur, including severe weather or incidents in and around the UHD campus. “If it affects our community, our alerts will allow members to take appropriate measures,” he added.

UHDPD also offers students riding their bikes to campus an opportunity to register them with the department. In the unfortunate event if a bike is stolen, the registration will provide investigators with helpful information and a greater chance of recovering the bike.

To learn about additional Police services, visit their department website.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) – the second-largest university in Houston – has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974.

As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates more than 15,000 students; boasts more than 61,000 alumni and offers 45 bachelor’s, nine master’s degree programs and 16 fully online programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service; Sciences & Technology; and University College).

For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks UHD among universities across the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (No. 27 and No. 15 for Veterans) and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.

UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. U.S. News ranked the University among Top Performers on Social Mobility and awarded UHD a No. 1 ranking as the most diverse institution of higher education in the southern region of the U.S. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.