Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, October 8, 2012

DPS and AAPD promote safety to off-campus residents

Campus leaders have once again teamed up with the Ann Arbor Police Department to promote safety to students living off campus.

The Division of Student Affairs, Department of Public Safety, student neighborhood ambassadors and AAPD went door-to-door Friday in neighborhoods adjacent to campus to welcome residents and distribute safety information. Student neighborhood ambassadors also canvassed off campus neighborhoods during the early weeks of the fall semester.

  From left, LSA senior Adam Rice is visited by U-M Neighborhood Ambassador Wen Ning, Ann Arbor Police Chief John Seto and interim U-M Chief of Police Joe Piersante on Friday as part of the Beyond the Diag program. (Photo by Martin Vloet, Michigan Photography)

The packets included information about off-campus life and safety, tips for being a good neighbor, responsible party planning advice and fire safety information. Students also received cards with late night transportation information.

The outreach was part of the student-led Beyond the Diag program designed to establish a network of off-campus student communities within the Ann Arbor neighborhoods where many university students live.

Residents were encouraged to leave the lights on outside their house or apartment doors, walk with a trusted friend whenever possible, keep their apartment, house and vehicle doors locked at all times and immediately report suspicious behavior.

“We really like the Beyond the Diag program because it enhances communication with our students about crime that’s been reported in their neighborhoods as well as helps empower students to implement actions that can help reduce crime,” said interim U-M Chief of Police Joe Piersante.

In its second year, the program has expanded from two to 12 neighborhoods, near the Central Campus and North Campus.

“The increase in the number of neighborhood ambassadors this year not only represents a larger awareness of the Beyond the Diag program, but also indicates that there is a strong desire to create healthy communities within Ann Arbor's student neighborhoods,” says student safety assistant Matt Lonnerstater.

Each neighborhood has an assigned student neighborhood ambassador. The ambassadors will serve as a point of contact for off-campus residents, create newsletters and plan two to three events per semester for residents living in their neighborhoods.

Stephanie Karaa, co-student safety assistant, added that the “neighborhood ambassadors come to every meeting with great ideas that show how importantly they take the needs of their residents. These are creative students who work hard and take initiative in everything they do. It’s a pleasure working with them, and I can’t wait to see where we will be this time next year.”

Other resources provided by Beyond the Diag include:

• A Facebook page and Twitter account, which provide tips and content on promoting good lighting, cutting back bushes and getting to know neighbors.

• Late-night transportation options. “SafeRide,” is a program that pulls together all the various late-night ride options into one consolidated phone number. Riders may use this service once per evening and must present a valid U-M ID. Students can reach the free service by calling 734-647-8000.

A campus safety website that directs students to important online safety information. Examples include information on registering for U-M Emergency Alerts, fire safety tips, parking regulations and information on noise violations.