Police Department section of Ask UGA FAQ

Is the University of Georgia campus safe?
Yes. The University of Georgia campus is safe. However, this does not mean that crime does not occur here. Violent crimes are rare on the University of Georgia campus. One of the best ways to avoid becoming a victim of crime is to realize that crime does happen here, and crime can happen to you. Making wise decisions and using common sense greatly reduce the chances of becoming a victim of crime. Using moderation when consuming alcohol, securing/locking your valuables, and being aware of your surroundings are some simple ways to greatly reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim. The UGA Police Department also conducts Personal Safety and Crime Prevention classes to help educate folks on maintaining a proper level of personal safety while on campus. For more information contact us at (706) 542-2200.
Why doesn't the University of Georgia use emergency call boxes?

In 1988 the University of Georgia became one of the first campuses in the nation to install emergency call boxes. As many as 28 call boxes were once spread across campus. At that time, emergency call boxes represented one of the best available options for people to communicate with police when in need of assistance. 

The call box system in place at UGA utilized analog technology.  In early 2000, telephone systems began moving away from analog technology towards digital systems.  In 2004, the University learned that the phone system infrastructure could no longer support analog technology used in the call boxes and that the call box system would cease to function without a costly digital upgrade.

The University considered purchasing a new digital call box system at an estimated cost of several hundred thousand dollars. Before making that financial commitment, we researched call data on the analog system call boxes. Over an eight-year span, UGA Police received only seven calls from call boxes, none of which were of an emergency nature.

Additionally, we researched cell phone usage from 1988 to 2004. In 1988, there were approximately 1.2 million cell phone users in the United States.  By 2004, there were more than 182 million.  The Pew Research Center notes that in 2018 100% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 own a cellphone.  Using cell phones to contact public safety personnel has become the new societal norm. 

With the proliferation of cell phones throughout our community, personal safety mobile phone apps have increased the potential to share information between smart phone users and public safety.  The UGA Police Department and the UGA Office of Emergency Preparedness partnered in May 2017 to provide a mobile phone safety app to students, faculty, staff and visitors called LiveSafe. LiveSafe is free for members of the University community to download, and it provides a comprehensive suite of safety features and resources.  The LiveSafe app can provide location sharing information during emergencies, has a virtual “safe walk” feature that allows a friend to monitor a user's progress across campus on a map, allows for users to report information directly to UGA Police Communications via a text or call, and includes resource information on emergency plans, crime prevention tips and other safety resources.  Importantly, the user can access all of these features while using a phone “on the move,” as opposed to call boxes which require a person to find a box location and stop.


UGA Police and UGA OEP promote the LiveSafe app during all of the new student orientation sessions (freshmen, transfer, graduate, international, new faculty, teaching assistants, etc.) and during other training and special events. Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, Emory University and others also utilize LiveSafe as a part of their safety programs.

Is it safe to walk on campus?
Yes. Many times, walking is the best option for transportation around campus. As stated in the previous question, violent crime can occur anywhere, but it is rare on the UGA campus. Most crime occurs after 11 PM, with the majority being in the downtown Athens and surrounding area. Lighting surveys are conducted each semester to upgrade existing infrastructure, with priority given to residential and high pedestrian traffic areas. Again, using moderation in consumption with alcohol, using well-lit, established pedestrian traffic paths, and walking in groups with people you know greatly reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim. Additionally, campus transit runs 24 hours per day to assist people in traveling around campus.
What crimes occur most often at UGA?
The majority of reported crimes at UGA involve minor theft by taking of personal property. Property left unattended and in public view is the most vulnerable. Most thefts are crimes of opportunity. Therefore, the best way to prevent becoming a victim of property crime is to secure your valuables with locks and out of public view when you are not using them.
Are residence halls at UGA safe?
Yes. The University of Georgia Police Department receives very few calls of a criminal nature from the residence halls on campus. While no one can fully guarantee where crime will or will not happen, the University of Georgia has taken many steps to increase security and personal safety in the residence halls. These increased measures have influenced both the number of actual crimes and the perceptions of personal safety and security in the residence halls.
Are the parking decks at UGA safe?
Yes. UGA Parking Services stations personnel in parking decks that are most commonly used during all hours. Additionally, the University of Georgia Police Department Patrol Division routinely patrols the parking decks on campus. Even with additional security measures, crime can occur in a parking deck, just as much as anywhere else. The most commonly reported criminal activity in parking decks is entering auto (vehicle break-ins). In the last 5 years, the University of Georgia has had less than 100 entering autos every year. There are more than 18,000 parking spaces on campus, with approximately 7,000 parking deck spaces. Statistically, there is a less than .005% chance of your car getting broken into. (http://www.police.uga.edu/crimestatistics/) The vast majority of entering auto crimes take place when valuables and items that can easily be converted to cash are left in view. If you park your car in a legal space, lock your car, and secure your valuable items from view, the chances are very low that your car will be broken into.
I have heard stories about the 'date rape' drug rohypnol. Has there been any instance of its use on the University of Georgia campus?
There have been no reported cases to the University of Georgia Police Department of the use of rohypnol on campus. The most common drug used in sexual assaults reported on campus is alcohol—either by the offender, victim/survivor, or both.
Are there illegal drugs on campus?
>Yes. Possession, use, or distribution of illegal drugs is a violation of state law and those caught will be arrested and prosecuted. The Police Department works proactively with other local law enforcement agencies to reduce the availability of illegal drugs in the community. Also, the giving of prescription drugs to another person to whom the drugs were not prescribed is a violation of state law that will be investigated and prosecuted.
How can I compare crime statistics of the University of Georgia with other colleges and universities?
There are several ways. Each school is required to make available annual crime statistics. Many schools’ police departments, including the University of Georgia Police department, post crime statistics on their webpage. You can access crime statistics for the University of Georgia on the Safe and Secure website. 

A second way would be to go to a public library and request Uniform Crime Reports published by the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Finally, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Post-Secondary Education receives crime statistics annually from colleges and universities across the nation. These statistics can be viewed at the Department of Education’s website.
If I am arrested, what will happen to me?
If you are arrested, you will be taken to the Athens-Clarke County Jail. There are no separate jail facilities for students. To get out of jail, you may be required to post bond in accordance with jail and court procedures. The bond amount is determined by the Athens-Clarke County Sheriff’s Office and is based on the crime for which you have been charged. It is also important to note that the Athens-Clarke County Jail maintains a daily arrest log that includes booking photos. The Daily Arrest Log is public record, subject to the Georgia Open Records Law, and may be viewed by anyone. Sometimes booking logs and photos are posted by local media correspondence, social media outlets, and other publications.
Are pedestrians safe on campus?
Yes! Although there have been well-publicized accidents involving pedestrians, which have occurred on campus, pedestrians are relatively safe. There are clearly marked crosswalks and pedestrian signals. However, if pedestrians disregard traffic signals, cross streets outside of crosswalks, or simply are not paying attention to what they are doing, accidents can occur.
Will my vehicle be safe on campus?
Generally vehicles are safe. However, in 2015, of the 34,000 vehicles registered on campus, there were 26 vehicles illegally entered and 5 vehicles reported stolen. Thieves target vehicles for different reasons. The vehicle itself is targeted because there is a demand for that vehicle or the property inside. The vehicle attracts the thief. Expensive stereo equipment and loose, personal property easily seen by the thief can make the vehicle more attractive. Parking the vehicle in well lighted and traveled areas may reduce the vulnerability of a particular vehicle being a target. There have been very few instances where vehicles with alarms were entered or stolen.

What are possible incidents where drivers under the age of 21 can loose their driver's license?

Conviction of a driver under the age of 21 for any of the following offenses will mean the revocation of the individual's driver's license for 6 months for the first offense and 12 months for the second offense:
  • DUI
  • Eluding or attempting to elude a police officer
  • Racing
  • Reckless driving
  • Hit and run
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Purchasing of an alcoholic beverage by a minor
  • Speeding over 24 mph
  • Underage possession of alcohol
Is it safe to lock my bicycle outside while on campus?
The answer to this question depends on what lengths you are willing to go in order to secure your bicycle. Too often students place cheap cable locks on very expensive bicycles. Bicycle thieves are looking for easy targets. Cheap locks or improperly secured locks are an open invitation to thieves. If you are going to bring an expensive bike to campus, spend a few extra dollars on a quality locking device and learn how to properly secure your bike with it. The few extra seconds you spend securing your bike properly will go a long way toward discouraging thieves.
What can parents do to assist their son or daughter in selecting a residence not on campus?

There are many good places to reside in the Athens area. Parents are encouraged to accompany their son or daughter during the selection process because some parents first see the rental property after a lease is signed and then question the decision. Usually college students will not ask the same probing questions parents ask, such as: What kind of windows, doors and locks are used? Are there smoke detectors? Are there outside security lights? Does the complex provide an on-site security service and is there available parking?

Before a lease is signed, you should ask if you would feel comfortable living in the residence.

Before making the final decision check with the Athens-Clarke County Police Department (706-613-3330) and Safe Campuses Now Inc. (706-354-1115) to find out the types and number of crimes committed in the area in which your son or daughter desires to live.

What advice would you give to parents who are feeling anxious about their son or daughter going off to school?

Parents should have as much contact as possible with their son or daughter while that son or daughter is away at school. With E-mail it is easier to get messages back and forth. The problem with E-mail is you cannot hear their voice. Parents know their children better than anyone else. If you hear something that does not sound right you might want to investigate further. Visit your son or daughter at times other than on special weekends, if possible, as maintaining this contact will reassure both you and your child.