Dear Campus Community,
One of the things I look forward to with the start of the spring semester is sharing with you updates from the department and reminders on how to Be a Safe Terp. Since I wrote to you last spring, much has happened. With that being said, I share with you information about new initiatives, and updates on ongoing initiatives, safety resources, and upcoming community events. We know that the first few weeks of classes can be overwhelming, but know this, we are here for you.
For many of us, we are still grappling with a video depicting a horrific killing of Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis police officers. I condemn their criminal misconduct in the strongest possible words. As an officer of the law for more than 50 years, it sickens me too, and I grieve alongside our community.
I am grateful to Nyumburu, MICA and the Black Faculty Staff Association for holding an event yesterday where we could grieve together.
Much work is to be done across the country, but here in College Park, our commitment to working with all of you to be a department of excellence has never been stronger. We continue to work with our campus partners in Enhancing Safety and Community Policing at the University of Maryland. You can see the progress on the online dashboard.
As we returned to a normal on campus resident population back in the fall, which was a first since the start of the pandemic in 2020, we anticipated seeing an increase in the number of calls for service and incidents. As expected, we did see an increase. In 2022, we responded to 103,453 calls for service compared to 98,061 in 2021. As we finalized the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, Part-I crime statistics for 2022, I share with you that we had 228 Part-I crime reports which yielded a 33.33% increase in overall crime compared to 2021 (171 Part-I crime reports). The majority of this increase is due to property crimes such as theft, burglary, and motor vehicle theft.
New and Ongoing Initiatives
Transparency and communication are crucial in building and maintaining trust. One of the ways we exhibit this is by making our crime stats available on our website. For decades, our department has reported our crime stats to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report, Summary Reporting System (SRS) - an aggregate monthly totals. In 2021, the FBI retired the SRS and transitioned to a National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) - a new national data collection standard. After months of planning and coordination between our Records and IT unit, we have made the switch to NIBRS reporting. This switch makes sure we are meeting federal data standards, improving operations, and better informing the public about the nature of crime in our community. We will continue to publish our crime stats monthly on our website. More information about the switch to NIBRS can be viewed here.
As the first police department in the State of Maryland to partner with Lights On! this past February, we are proud to be part of a community-driven program that offers vouchers for free, up to $250 worth of repairs, instead of traffic tickets. Since joining Lights On!, we have issued over 100 vouchers to motorists with light(s) out on their vehicle.
Working with our partners in the Division of Student Affairs, we are coming up with innovative solutions to address the needs of the community as it relates to mental health. As I shared last year, we have a Crisis Intervention Team. We now have 21 officers and 911 call takers trained specifically in the field of Crisis Intervention and are using de-escalation techniques that improve the safety for our community and the officers involved. We are continuing to provide this additional training to all of our officers and 911 call takers.
Another resource that is available not to just public safety but all members of our community is the The BETA (Behavior Evaluation and Threat Assessment) Team. The BETA Team, led by the Division of Student Affairs, has expertise from various functional areas across campus. They evaluate reports about University of Maryland community members who behave in a concerning manner. Early intervention is important. See something, say something, do something. We invite you to review their resources on how to assist those in distress. The University also offers Mental Health and First Aid Training. This 8-hour training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to the appropriate care.
It’s no secret that gift cards make for great gifts for people you know. However, purchasing a gift card or multiple gift cards as a form of payment to someone who just called you and that you don't know is not. These incidents are known as Gift Card Scams. And the people calling you are referred to as “scammers”. No real business or government agency will demand you pay them with gift cards. More information about other scams and phishing emails can be viewed here.
Theft continues to be the most reported crime on campus. But you can play an active role in preventing theft. Please remember don’t leave your property unattended. Parking a vehicle on campus? Store your property out of sight. Avoid storing your property in your vehicle long term. Have a bicycle/scooter/e-scooter? Use a “u” type of lock to secure it and secure it property. Did you register your mode of transportation with the Department of Transportation Services? DOTS provides free bicycle and e-scooter registration and offers safety gear, to include u-locks, at discounted rates.
If you see suspicious activity, say something! Call the UMPD immediately at 301-405-3333 or #3333 from a mobile phone (AT&T and Verizon Wireless) or 911. You can also use any of the 300 plus emergency blue lights phones or the UMD Guardian app.
We invite you to join us at our upcoming community events. These events provide opportunities to meet our police officers and staff for no other reason than to build community.
Stop by The Coffee Bar, located inside the Stamp Student Union, on the second Wednesday of every month for Coffee with a Cop between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. In partnership with Dining Services, you can grab a free cup of coffee and get to know members of the University of Maryland Police Department. We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, February 8, and Teddy the Terp often attends!
Speaking of Teddy, he is head over paws to see you at his event, Teddy Grams. On Tuesday, February 14, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Teddy is handing out valentines (while supplies last) to all of his friends. Stop by the Student Involvement Suite inside the Stamp Student Union. You can follow Teddy on Instagram at @teddytheterp and you can even email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to request Teddy at upcoming events, meetings, and more.
To make sure you are receiving in-the-moment alerts to your cell phone during emergency situations, please log into your UMD Alerts profile to make sure your contact information is current. I also encourage our community to take advantage of other services and resources available, including the UMD Guardian App.
As the spring semester opens, and you’re all getting back into your routines, know that we are here for you. Always.
Chief David B. Mitchell
Chief of Police/ Director of Public Safety
Sent by University of Maryland Police Department
University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742