SMU Student Handbook

Law Enforcement and Security

Southern Methodist University is pledged to fulfill its promise as a private university of the highest quality. Toward that end, a variety of services and programs are offered which are conducive to the support of the learning that occurs in the classroom. Uppermost among the services and programs are those that promote the safety and security of the campus community.


Law Enforcement Authority of Campus Security Personnel

The SMU Police Department is a fully empowered law enforcement agency that is certified by the State of Texas. SMU Police officers are armed, state-commissioned peace officers with full police authority, duties and responsibilities. The SMU Police Department provides 24-hour emergency services with patrol officers and a communications officer on duty at all times. The department consists of 36 staff members; 30 of whom are armed, commissioned peace officers. The SMU Police Department has the responsibility and duty to enforce all local, state, and federal laws and to effect arrest and to provide for referral for prosecution of crimes to the city and county judicial systems. Criminal violations will be processed through the Dallas County District Attorney's Office, or Federal criminal justice system. Officers also write citations for the City of University Park and the City of Dallas, Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3.

Municipal Law Enforcement Jurisdiction

In addition to the SMU Police Department (SMU PD), the University Park Police Department (UPPD) has an excellent working relationship with SMU PD and has concurrent jurisdiction on the campus. University Park police officers regularly patrol the campus and augment SMU PD during emergencies. The University Park Fire Department (UPFD) is within six blocks of the SMU campus and provides fire prevention, suppression and emergency paramedic services to the campus. Through interagency agreements, the City of University Park, the Highland Park DPS, the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas County Sheriff's Department will also provide assistance if requested by the SMU Police Department.


Procedures for Reporting Crimes and Other Emergencies

All University community members and guests of the University are encouraged to report suspected criminal activity to the police as soon as possible. Fires, health emergencies, crimes, and violations of University policies and procedures should be reported to the SMU Police Department either in person at 3128 Dyer Street, Room 200, Patterson Hall, or by telephone by dialing 911 on campus or at 214-768-3333. Conspicuously placed, lighted emergency (Blue Light) telephones with direct lines to the SMU Police Department are located throughout the campus to facilitate reporting. The department also has an anonymous tips line where community members can leave information without providing their identity. The SMU Anonymous Tips Line is 8-2TIP on campus or 214-SMU-2TIP from cell phones/off campus phone lines.

Reporting Crimes to Other University Officials or Counselors

Who Are Campus Security Authorities?

The Clery Act also mandates that institutions must disclose statistics both for crimes reported to local police agencies and crimes reported to campus security authorities. Campus security authorities include the following:

  • A member of a campus police department or a campus security department of an institution.

  • Any individual or individuals who have responsibility for campus security, but who do not constitute a campus police department or a campus security department (e.g., an individual who is responsible for monitoring the entrance into institutional property).

  • Any individual or organization specified in an institution's statement of campus security policy as an individual or organization to which students and employees should report criminal offenses.

  • An official of an institution who has significant responsibility for student and campus activities, including, but not limited to, the following areas:

  • Athletics
  • Division of Student Affairs
  • Office of Police and Risk Management
  • Non-Police & Special Events Security Staff
  • Any other staff/faculty member with significant oversight over student activities
  • Parking and ID Card Services
  • Engaged Learning
  • Faculty Advisors to Student Groups
  • Taos/Plano Campus Administrators
  • Student workers monitoring access to facilities/events
    • An official is defined as any person who has the authority and the duty to take action or respond to particular issues on behalf of the institution.

    The intent of including non-law enforcement personnel as campus security authorities is to acknowledge that many people, students in particular, are hesitant about reporting crimes to the police, but may be more inclined to report incidents to other campus-affiliated individuals.

    Examples of individuals who DO NOT meet the criteria for being campus security authorities include a faculty member who does not have any responsibility for student and campus activity beyond the classroom, clerical staff, custodians and maintenance personnel and cafeteria staff. A pastoral or professional counselor on campus does not have significant responsibility for student and campus activity and are exempt from reporting crimes to the campus police. However, physicians and nurses of the Memorial Health Center who treat a victim of a violent crime that occurred on the campus or a facility, under the control of the university, must disclose the reported crime to the university police. They are not required to release the names of victims/patients.

    Reporting Crimes Outside of the SMU Jurisdiction

    The SMU Police Department makes a good faith effort to stay informed of all criminal activity involving students at off-campus locations. Surrounding municipal agencies, state law enforcement agencies such as the TABC, and federal agencies routinely inform campus police about incidents where their officers contact SMU students. Annually, the department also requests area agencies to provide crime statistics for those areas immediately adjacent to the campus boundaries. When received, these statistics are included in the Annual Security Report.


    Most campus buildings and facilities are accessible to members of the campus community, guests and visitors during normal business hours. Access to buildings after normal business hours, weekends and holidays is restricted unless they are sites for specific classes or special events. Some buildings may be accessed after normal business hours through prior approval of the building facility manager.

    The exterior doors to all residence halls remain locked 24 hours a day. Unlimited access is available to residents of each particular facility via a card swipe access control system. Residence halls are randomly patrolled 24 hours per day by uniformed police officers. Residents are encouraged to report all suspicious people and activity to Residence Life staff and the SMU Police.

    Visitors to the residence halls, as well as fraternity and sorority housing, must be accompanied by the resident being visited. Visitors to campus are welcome, but are expected to adhere to all campus regulations and policies. Visitors are encouraged to stop by the Police Department located on the second floor of Patterson Hall for information on university regulations. The University reserves the right to restrict the access of any person who does not adhere to University policies and procedures. ANY person may be required, upon request by the Police Department, to present identification while on campus.

    Faculty, staff and students are required to have an SMU ID CARD in their possession at all times and to present their SMU ID CARD upon request by a University Official. The SMU ID CARD is available at the Park 'n Pony Office located on the 1st floor of the Expressway Towers, 6116 Central Expressway, Suite 101.

    Security cameras are positioned at several locations around campus including the entrances and exits of parking garages, some public plazas, libraries, and areas that contain high value artwork. These cameras are not monitored at all times; however, they are equipped to digitally record activity within the field of view. Presence of security cameras should not preclude individuals from practicing good, common sense crime prevention practices and exercising caution.


    University facilities, lighting, and landscaping are maintained so as to reduce hazardous conditions. The University also has emergency blue light phones installed throughout the campus. SMU Police Officers regularly test the emergency phones and submit work orders for those in need of repair. Officers also routinely report the need for replacement lights and any other physical hazard they note. Malfunctioning lights, emergency telephones and other unsafe conditions are reported to the Facilities Management & Sustainability Office for repair or correction on a daily basis.


    Southern Methodist University has participated in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program since 1967. The following are the reported crime statistics, as defined by this act, for Southern Methodist University for 2016, 2017, and 2018:



    2016 2017 2018
       Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter 0 0 0
       Negligent Manslaughter 0 0 0
       Forcible Sex Offenses 8 4 3
       Non-Forcible Sex Offenses 0 0 0
          Sex Offenses Not Reported to Police 6 6
       Robbery 5 0 0
       Aggravated Assault 2
    4 2
       Burglary 5 11 19
       Motor Vehicle Thefts 10
       Arson 2 3 1
      2016 2017 2018
       Liquor Law Violations 37 147 157
       Drug Violations 24
    36 53
       Weapons Violations 1
      2016 2017 2018
       Liquor Law Violations 382 234 186
       Drug Violations 95 29
       Weapons Violations 1
    0 0


    The Southern Methodist University Police Department prepares and distributes an Annual Security Report for all of the SMU campuses in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. This report, published annually by October 1, contains three (3) years' worth of crime, arrest and disciplinary referral statistics and outlines security policy statements including sexual assault policies. The statistics include incidents occurring on campus, public areas adjacent to campus, and certain non-campus facilities including fraternity and sorority housing and remote classrooms. The statistics are also gathered from the University Park Police Department, Highland Park Department of Public Safety, Dallas Police Department, Plano Police Department, Taos County Sheriff's Office in New Mexico and other University/College officials who have significant responsibility for students and campus activities (including but not limited to directors, deans, department heads, designated RLSH staff, student affairs, advisors to students/student organizations, athletic coaches).

    The Southern Methodist University Police Department makes these reports available at no cost via the following Internet web page:

    SMU - All Campuses - On October 1, 2019

    Students may request a printed copy of this report by contacting the SMU Police Department in person at the SMU Police Department administrative offices located at 3128 Dyer Street in Patterson Hall during normal business hours Monday - Friday. Students may also request a printed copy by calling the SMUPD at (214) 768-1348, via email at, or by mail at the following address: Southern Methodist University Police Department, Attention: Annual Security Report Requests, P.O. Box 750334, Dallas, TX 75275-0334.

    In addition to this report, the police department provides a daily crime log that may be viewed on the web at


    In order to keep the SMU community informed about serious crimes and security issues, timely warnings may be issued in the form of a Crime Alert. Crime Alerts are issued on a case-by-case basis in a manner that will provide notification to the campus community about certain reportable criminal incidents that occur on or very near the campus. The institution must also believe the criminal incident poses a continuing threat to the community and the alert will aid in the prevention of similar crimes in the future.

    The crimes that typically result in a timely warning are referred to herein as "Clery Act Crimes". These crimes, as defined by 34 CFR 668.46(b)(c), are: Criminal Homicide, Forcible Sex Offense, Non-Forcible Sex Offenses, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Auto Theft, Arson, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking.

    These crimes must have occurred within those areas of the campus that are specifically defined in 34 CFR 668.46(a). These areas are broken down into the following categories:

    • On Campus Property (includes Residential Facilities)

    • Non-Campus Property

    • Public Property

    (Definitions for these categories can be viewed by visiting

    NOTE: SMU will not necessarily issue timely warnings for every Clery Act criminal incident that is reported since that specific incident may not pose a continuing threat to the community. Certain Clery Act crimes like motor vehicle theft, for example, occur infrequently on the campus at random locations. Suspect information is often never provided or determined. This is also true of the Dallas/Ft Worth area. Individuals should exercise due care and caution to avoid being victimized. Check out the crime prevention tips posted by the SMU Police to deter these crimes or attend a crime prevention briefing.

    CRIME ALERT (Off Campus)

    SMU may post a Crime Alert (Off Campus) for certain Clery Act crimes occurring outside the patrol jurisdiction of the SMUPD, when timely notification is received by the SMU PD and the offense is considered to represent a serious or continuing threat to the students and employees of SMU due to the nature of the crime, and/or proximity to the campus

    Even though this action is not required by law, SMU strongly believes in supporting the spirit of the Clery Act by informing the community about certain crimes that are reported in the areas immediately surrounding our campus; yet still outside the normal SMU police patrol area.

    When are Timely Warnings issued?

    In accordance with the published guidelines used to interpret 34 CFR 668(e), the decision to issue a timely warning is made on a case-by-case basis in light of all facts surrounding the crime, including factors such as the nature of the crime, the continuing danger to the community, and the possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts. Neither the Clery Act nor the Department of Education defines "timely". The Department of Education has stated the warning should be issued as soon as the pertinent information is available.

    Timely warnings may be issued for other offenses not covered by this regulation if a determination is made that the warning will aid in preventing similar offenses from occurring.

    How are Timely Warnings issued?

    In an effort to provide timely notice to the SMU community, and in the event of a serious incident which may pose an on-going threat to the members of the SMU community, a warning will be issued. The method of delivery will be determined on a case-by-case basis, in light of all the facts. Various methods of delivery will be employed, including e-mail, crime alert posters, text message, voice mail, website, and/or social media to inform students and employees on campus. The alerts are generally written by the Chief of Police or designee and they are distributed to the community by the Office of Public Affairs. Crime Alerts are issued on a case-by-case basis in a manner that will provide notification to the campus community about certain reportable criminal incidents that occur on or very near the campus. The University must believe the criminal incident poses a continuing threat to the community and the alert will aid in the prevention of similar crimes in the future. Updates to the SMU community about any particular case resulting in a crime alert may also be distributed in a similar manner as listed above. When crime alerts are posted in campus buildings, they are printed on brightly colored paper and posted in the lobby/entrance area of campus building(s) for seven days. The Daily Campus newspaper will also be asked to print the warning in the next available issue. Timely warnings will also be published on the SMU Police Department web page.


    1. Avoid walking alone, particularly after dark. Use the Safety Escort Service whenever possible. If walking alone is unavoidable, be aware of your surroundings and let someone know when to expect you.

    2. Avoid shortcuts. The shortest route is not always the safest route. Walk along the mid-point, between curbs and buildings and away from alleys and bushes.

    3. Dress for mobility, particularly after dark.

    4. Avoid deserted areas, poorly lit streets, alleys and pathways.

    5. Never jog alone.

    6. When walking or jogging, go against the flow of traffic; that makes it harder for motorists to bother you. (If harassed from a car, walk or run in the opposite direction. Scream if you are truly frightened.)

    7. Do not jog while wearing stereo headphones. It's important to be alert to what's happening around you.

    8. Carry your personal belongings in a backpack or similar container that will enable your arms and hands to be free at all times.

    9. Avoid approaching your car with bundles that restrict use of your arms. If you've been shopping, ask the store for assistance.

    10. Always have your keys ready to unlock the door to your car or residence and enter without delay. Lock the doors after you get inside.

    11. Before entering your car, look in the back seat and on the floorboard.

    12. Always lock car doors and windows when you leave or enter your car.

    13. Never leave belongings in plain view in your car. Lock them in the trunk.

    14. If someone in a vehicle attempts to stop you, even to ask for directions, do not get close to the vehicle.

    15. Register, engrave, mark, and/or photograph all your valuables including bicycles, stereos, jewelry, vehicles, computers, etc.

    16. Never get on an elevator with someone who looks suspicious. If someone who looks suspicious gets on, get off immediately.

    17. Avoid using an ATM in a dark, isolated area; it's best to use machines that are in highly visible public areas, such as a supermarket.

    18. Never flash your cash. Always have "emergency" change for a phone call.

    19. Be responsible with alcohol. If you are intoxicated, you are less alert and an easier target for robbers and attackers.


    Residence Halls are patrolled regularly by SMU Police Officers. They perform periodic walk-throughs to ensure building safety and security.

    1. Never leave your door open, even if you will be gone for only a few minutes; especially, never leave a door propped open. Always lock doors, screens and windows to prevent uninvited access to your room.

    2. Don't mark your room key or key chain with your name, address, or telephone number.

    3. Do not give anyone a key to your room.

    4. Do not leave valuables in plain sight.

    5. Never let strangers into your hall. This puts you and others at risk.

    6. Be aware of suspicious persons and activities. If you observe someone or something suspicious, notify the hall staff and the SMU PD at 214-768-3333.

    NOTE: Calls to 911 from cellular telephones will be answered by the Dallas Police or the University Park Police. Students using cell phones should tell the 911 Operator they are calling from the SMU campus and need to speak to the SMU Police Department. The 911 Operator will immediately transfer the call to SMU.


    Last revision - 10 July 2019