Our approach to on- and off-campus safety

Washington University approaches safety, both on- and off-campus, through a number of programs and resources, including:

Washington University Police Department

We are proud to have one of the best staffed and trained university police departments anywhere in the country. The Washington University Police Department (WUPD) is a team of 58 personnel, including 42 commissioned police officers who have been trained in accordance with the local and state police academy and who meet the requirements for police certification.  WUPD are deputized in St. Louis County.  They are authorized to make arrests, to investigate criminal and non-criminal incidents that occur on our Danforth Campus, and to cooperate in the criminal justice process. WUPD maintains off-campus patrols as well to serve as additional eyes and ears in designated off-campus neighborhoods near the Danforth Campus. WUPD works closely with the local police departments for those surrounding jurisdictions to address incidents that may arise.

Neighborhood Patrol Unit

Under the leadership of WUPD, we have established a Neighborhood Patrol Unit to provide high-visibility patrols to neighborhoods in which we own off-campus housing. Twelve police officers and five licensed security officers patrol designated neighborhoods and high-traffic walkways, in distinctively marked vehicles, on bicycles and on foot.


Washington University has a system of emergency blue lights to quickly summon police, as well as walkway lighting throughout our campuses and the surrounding neighborhoods. All are checked on a weekly basis to ensure they remain in good working condition. Additionally, over the past several years, we have undertaken a major initiative to substantially enhance lighting along major pedestrian walkways used by our community.

We also have Alertus beacons throughout all of our buildings, which sound and light up in the event of an emergency. The beacons ensure that alerts are received even if cell or internet service is diminished. Our alert system includes text messages, phone calls, emails, pop-up computer messages, beacons, sirens and updates to our websites.

Washington University provides a free subscription for students, faculty, and staff to Noonlight, a mobile personal safety app. Noonlight is easy to use. Students can simply open the app and hold their thumb on the blue “safe” button. When they reach their destination, they release their thumb and enter their four-digit PIN number to confirm they are safe. If the student feels a heightened sense of danger and would like assistance, they release their thumb but do not enter the PIN. The Noonlight team will text and call the student to make sure they are safe. If they do not respond, Noonlight will dispatch police, giving them the student’s exact location and name.

To download the Noonlight app using the complimentary university subscription, students can go to https://one.wustl.edu/task/all/safetrek

Residential Life

All Residential Life-managed properties – both on and off campus – have student Resident Advisors (RAs) living there. Their job is to help build strong communities and ensure our students feel safe and supported. They are supervised by Residential College/Community Directors (RCDs), full-time professional staff who live in apartments in those buildings. Together, the RAs and RCDs work hard to keep our students safe, informed and empowered.

Escorts and Transportation

We offer many security supports through WUPD and other university programs. You can learn more about many of them by visiting the WUPD website. They include:

  • Our on-campus Bear Patrol escort service provides 24-hour, on-call service for any student who would like an escort from anywhere on the Danforth Campus back to their on-campus residence.
  • Our Campus2Home shuttle provides a safe ride after-hours daily from the Danforth Campus to off-campus residences. The shuttle takes students to their home and waits until safe entry. More information about the Campus2Home shuttle can be found on the university’s Parking & Transportation website: https://parking.wustl.edu/items/campus2home.


The university has invested in a multi-million-dollar network of hundreds of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras on campus and around our off-campus residence halls. These CCTV channels have been extraordinarily effective in identifying potential issues and in responding to incidents. Video footage from our CCTV network has helped not only WUPD, but also surrounding jurisdictions, to investigate crimes, identify suspects, and empower arrests.

Additionally, there are a number of ways you can stay informed about what is happening on and near campus.

  • You can opt in to receive off-campus crime and security email notifications by calling WUPD at 314-935-5555 and asking for Wendy Oloteo, who can add you to the appropriate email list.
  • You also can receive alerts by downloading theWUSTL mobile app and enabling notifications.
  • You may also wish to download and follow the Louis Crime Tracker app, provided by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.