As most of you are aware, in the past few months, there have been some incidents of criminal activity on or in the surrounding neighborhoods of our campus. Perhaps because this type of incident is completely out of the ordinary for Bradley University, it has gotten some attention. As a result, given the strong partnership that Bradley has with the City of Peoria, I and the Bradley administrative team met on campus Saturday morning, December 28, with Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, Chief of Police Loren Marion, and our City Councilman Chuck Grayeb to develop a coordinated plan for making our campus and surrounding neighborhoods as safe as is possible.
As the conversation evolved, it quickly became apparent that what I intimated above is very true – based on both recent and historical data, and all of the other information available, Bradley’s campus and surrounding areas are very safe both in absolute and comparative terms. The students, faculty, staff, and visitors to Bradley are as safe or safer than at virtually any non-rural campus in America. Nonetheless, the recent isolated but troubling spate of incidents, all or most of which there is some reason to believe were committed by the same individual(s) whom campus and local police are very focused on apprehending, has caused understandable concern that needs to be addressed. Our constant goal is always to have an extremely safe environment in which our Bradley community can study and work, and for everyone here to feel confident about their safety.
Through our discussion, Bradley and Peoria leaders have agreed to implement the following steps, most of which will result in noticeably higher law enforcement visibility on and around campus:
The City of Peoria has committed to an immediate increased police presence on and around our campus. This will include increased patrols by the Peoria Police Department to augment the Bradley University Police Department's presence.
The Bradley University Police Department (BUPD) has modified and enhanced its patrolling strategies.
The University has committed to hiring additional security personnel, which will provide more security presence as well as give its twenty-one fully licensed and armed police officers more time to patrol and secure the campus.
We are also developing enhanced use of both recording and constantly-monitored security cameras in strategic areas.
As a proven strong resource for our campus, we are also increasing the use and availability of the Hilltop Safety Cruiser program.
We are encouraged by how quickly the City of Peoria and our Administration have joined forces to care for and protect Bradley University students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Nothing is more important than their safety and well-being, and we will always have a commitment to making and maintaining our campus community as safe and secure as it can be.
I cannot end without adding a word of advice. While nobody “deserves” to be the victim of crime and a victim is never “to blame,” it would be wise for everyone to avoid making themselves an easy target. Students and others would be well advised to avoid walking all alone in remote dark areas late at night or in the wee hours of the morning. Call the Hilltop Safety Cruiser if you can; walk with others (the more the better); take well-lighted or well-traveled routes; always be aware of your surroundings and be smart. Bradley will always do what it can to make the campus as safe and secure as it can be, but in this day and age, there are never absolute guarantees. Being aware and taking precautions are always good things to keep in mind, on or off any university or college campus.
Gary R. Roberts ’70
Original Message - December 27, 2019
Dear Bradley Parents and Students,
First of all, we want to assure you that we understand and share your concern about the recent crimes on and near Bradley’s campus. Please know that the university and Bradley University Police Department (BUPD) take the safety of our students very seriously. Because campus safety is paramount, we wanted to reach out to address your concerns.
This spate of campus incidents has alarmed us. Understanding that a strong unified response is vital, we are assembling our administrative team Saturday, December 28 at 9 a.m. to meet this challenge head on. We are determined to do what is necessary to ensure that our campus is as safe as it can be, which will no doubt include involving leaders of Peoria’s city government.
To that end, Bradley has enhanced its safety precautions. Exterior security cameras have been upgraded and new interior security cameras, card-access security technology and blue light phones on and off campus have been installed. In response to these new threats, we are installing additional exterior cameras and BUPD officers are modifying their patrolling strategies.
The BUPD — which includes 21 sworn officers — has always patrolled both on campus and in surrounding neighborhoods, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are hopeful that modifying and enhancing our patrol routes and strategies will have immediate positive effects.
And we’re not alone. The BUPD has a strong working relationship with our local police partners. Chief Brian Joschko is in frequent contact with Peoria Chief of Police Loren Marion, and has reached out to Chief Marion to request additional support from PPD. They will continue to align their resources to address these recent cases, increase vigilance and improve safety on and near campus.
The BUPD keeps the campus community informed of safety alerts through emails, Twitter and Facebook posts, and alerts to the university webpage. Additionally, we want to reemphasize the existence of longstanding and effective campus safety resources like the Hilltop Safety Cruiser program (a shuttle transport for students, faculty and staff to travel safely from place to place), the Student Patrol program, BUPD's vacant (or vacation) house checks, and on-campus self-defense classes.
Again, we acknowledge your understandable concern and pledge to keep you informed as we move forward to address these pressing challenges.