'Walk in the Dark,' A Stroll for Campus Security

October 13, 2009

Nighttime is the right time for the University of Houston’s “Walk in the Dark.”

Since 2003, the UH Department of Public Safety (UHDPS) has teamed with the Student Government Association (SGA) for a twilight tour of campus that spotlights areas that might pose safety or security hazards.

The 2009 “Walk in the Dark” kicks off at 9 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 14 at the University Center.  Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to participate in this evening exploration of the university.

“Through this event, we are able to learn what concerns the campus community,” said Malcolm Davis, UHDPS police chief and assistant vice president of public safety. “As officers, we have a different view of the campus. We need to see the university through the eyes of others, so we can make this a safer place for everyone.”

Davis and other members of UHDPS will be among this year’s walkers, as well as representatives from SGA, UH Plant Operations and Utility Services. Participants will split up into groups of four and cover different areas of campus.

Among the things that walkers will look for are areas in need of enhanced lighting, overgrown landscaping that obstructs visibility and uneven or broken pavement.

“Each year, the walk changes a bit,” Davis said. “It’s never the same tour. Because of new construction and new facilities, we always observe new areas of campus that weren’t there during previous walks.”

The one constant aspect of each year’s “Walk in the Dark,” Davis said, is that it is the perfect opportunity for UHDPS and Plant Operations to receive direct feedback from the campus community. Most importantly, faculty, staff and student suggestions are acted upon.

As a result of the “Walk in the Dark,” UH added security cameras and lighting to several areas on campus including Entrance 14, the exterior of M.D. Anderson Library and around the Law Center.

For those, who can’t make this week’s walk, Davis will accept security and safety suggestions by e-mail at mdavis@uh.edu.

“Although this event happens once a year, we always want to hear from the community,” he said. “Let us know about any areas on campus that you feel are not well-lit or are possible safety hazards.”

In addition to its role in the annual “Walk in the Dark,” UHDPS provides services to offices and departments to help maximize safety and security. UHDPS police officers are available to consult with departments and offices to provide safety and security tips. Security escorts also are available to walk individuals to their vehicles after sundown. To request a security consultation or escort, call 713-743-3333.

In the event of rain, the walk will be cancelled. For updates on this event, contact Ginger Walker at 713-743-0583.

Mike Emery