Low Crime Rate Brings Mark of Honor for UMPD

By Jennifer Palma Sanchez

Low Crime Rate Brings Mark of Honor for UMPD

By Jennifer Palma Sanchez
The University of Miami Police Department is taking a unique approach to sharing the news about the University’s lowest reported crime rate, and you may notice it the next time you speak to a UMPD officer. A pin with a bright red “94” embedded in the U is now a standard part of the UMPD uniform.

The pin, also worn by city of Coral Gables police officers and partnering staff members across the University, doesn’t just signify the record-breaking low of just 94 crimes reported on campus last year, but the team effort it took to achieve the annual drops in crime that began in 2008.

“We know it is essential for students, staff, and visitors to be open and communicative with our officers when they are on campus,” said UMPD Chief David Rivero. “The more engaged we are as a community, the easier it is to work together in making our campus a safer place. It’s my hope that the pins provide officers with another opportunity to talk about the work they are doing.”

In addition to partnering with other departments, including Business and Finance, Student and Faculty Affairs, Facilities, and Parking and Transportation, Rivero and his team have incorporated new tactics and approaches into their daily routines to help engage different members of the UM community—a task which often requires some creativity.

Among the creative changes is the implementation of a daily “script” that informs all officers on duty what’s happening in all areas of campus each hour of the day.

“In addition to monitoring the anticipated events each day, the script includes details about smaller meetings and gatherings on campus, such as student organizations and lecture series,” Rivero said.

It is, the chief added, small changes like the script that have helped UMPD accomplish the lowest reported crime rate since active tracking began in 2003. Last year’s 94 reported crimes represent a drop of 28 crimes from 2016, and 360 crimes from 2003, the highest year on record.

“By partnering with our colleagues and taking a hands-on approach to interacting with everyone on our campus, we have seen a drastic improvement in the safety of our community,” said Rivero.

Rivero also explained how stratified policing—a method which tracks all incidents, no matter how small, in case they may be linked to larger, more complex crimes—has helped officers engage the community. For stratified policing to be most effective, UMPD officers rely heavily on the UM community to report all crimes, even small incidents that would often go unreported.

“We are always looking for new ways to ensure our students, faculty, and staff feel comfortable interacting with officers and reporting crimes or suspicious activity,” said Rivero.

And now officers and UMPD partners have a new conversation starter to help them continue engaging students, faculty, staff, and visitors to campus—the bright red “94” pins UMPD and Coral Gables police officers and partnering staff members who work in collaborating departments across campus now wear.

“It is also important for members of the UM community to be engaged with various teams around campus that assist us in preventing crime,” Rivero said. “The more we talk about things on campus that might seem out of place, the easier it is to combat crime and work together.”