The University of Memphis

Timely Warning of Reported Crimes


Issued: February 13, 2017
Responsible Official: Vice President for Business & Finance
Responsible Office: Police Services

Policy Statement


The University of Memphis has a responsibility to provide timely warnings about reported crimes to the campus community in a manner that will aid in the prevention of similar crimes.  The Campus community members including students, faculty, staff, and guests are encouraged to report all crimes and public safety related incidents to the University of Memphis Police Department (UMPD).  To report any crime or an emergency on the University campus, contact the UMPD at 901-678-HELP (4357) or the Memphis Police Department (MPD) at 9-1-1.  To report a non-emergency security or public safety related matter, call UMPD at 901-678-3848 or the MPD at 901-545-COPS (2677). 


Implementing a Timely Warning

1.    A warning must be issued when both of the following conditions are met:

       a. arson, aggravated assault, criminal homicide, robbery, sex offenses, burglary, motor vehicle theft, or any crime determined to be a hate crime is reported to the University Police (UMPD) or other campus security authorities, and

       b. the crime is considered by the University to represent a continuing threat to students or employees

2.     A warning may be issued regarding other crimes as deemed necessary by the UMPD.  

3.    The Director of Police Services, or his/her designee, is responsible for making the decision whether a timely warning will be issued.

Determining Whether a Continued Threat Exists

1.    Whether a reported crime constitutes a continuing threat must be decided on a case-by-case basis in light of all the facts surrounding a crime, including factors such as the nature of the crime, the continuing danger to the campus community and the possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts.  

2.    Examples of crimes that could constitute a continuing threat include but are not limited to:

       a.    a serial crime that targets certain campus populations such as sex crimes or race-based crimes in which the perpetrator has not been apprehended

       b.    a crime in which there is no apparent connection between perpetrator and victim and the perpetrator has not been apprehended  

3.    Crimes that would not constitute a continuing threat include but are not limited to:

       a.    crimes in which the perpetrator has been apprehended, thereby neutralizing the threat

       b.    crimes in which an identified perpetrator targets specific individuals to the exclusion of others, such as domestic violence

Warning Notice Content

1.    The warning must contain sufficient information about the nature of the threat to allow members of the campus to take action to protect themselves.

       a.    A succinct statement of the incident 

       b.    Possible connection to previous incidents, if applicable 

       c.     Physical description of the suspect 

       d.    Photo evidence of the suspect, if available 

       e.    Date and time the warning was released 

       f.     Other relevant and important information 

2.    In some cases, law enforcement may need to keep some facts confidential to avoid compromising an investigation.

Timing of the Warning

If a crime is considered by the institution to represent a serious or continuing threat, e.g., an armed intruder on campus, a warning may need to be issued immediately with few facts and then be continually updated until the threat is contained or neutralized.


Timely warnings are issued for crimes representing a serious or continuing threat that are committed within the University’s “Clery geography,”   Clery geography is defined as:  

1.    On campus  

2.    On public property within or immediately adjacent to the campus. Public property includes thoroughfares, streets, sidewalks and parking facilities within the campus or immediately adjacent to and accessible from the campus.  

3.    In or on noncampus buildings or property owned or controlled by the University. “Noncampus” refers to any building or property owned or controlled by a student organization officially recognized by the University, or owned or controlled by the University that is used in direct support of, or in relation to, the University’s educational purposes, is frequently used by students, and is not within the same reasonable contiguous geographic area of the University.


1.    The warning must be distributed in a manner reasonably likely to reach the entire campus community.   

2.    Depending on the circumstances, any of the following methods, or combination thereof, may be used:

  • Text message
  • Campus-wide email
  • Posting to the University of Memphis home page
  • Special information hotline: 901-678-0888
  • Posting of notices
  • Activation of the campus outdoor warning system
  • Public address systems – mounted in UMPD vehicles
  • Trained residence hall staff 
  • Press release 
  • Local news media
  • Social media


Police Services

Revision Dates

 UM1760 -- Revised February 13, 2017
UM1760 - Issued: May 13, 2013 - supercedes policy number 2A:08:01

Subject Areas:

AcademicFinanceGeneralHuman ResourcesInformation TechnologyResearchStudent Affairs